Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History Online

Golden Ark
Holy of Holies
Holy Place
Outer Court

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Reuben Simeon Judah Dan Naphtali Gad

Asher Issachar Zebulun Ephraim Manasseh Benjamin

'Israel on the March'

The Trumpet

images/W9.gifhen the time came for the people to continue their journey the signal to strike camp was given (by the priests blowing an alarm on two trumpets of beaten silver) which were not like the Shofar (rams horn). Judging from representations later found on Jewish coins and carved on the Arch of Titus in Rome it was possible that these were long straight metal tubes about 4 feet long with flared ends. A series of short blasts would be the signal for the tribes to move in pre-arranged order.

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The Shofar or ram's horn(Left) and the alarm trumpet of beaten silver (Right)


Jewish Tradition

According to Jewish tradition Rosh Ha-Shanah serves to proclaim God as King (Heb. Melech) of the universe. The shofar trumpets His coronation (Heb. tashlikh), the ceremony where the Jews go to a stream or a body of water. This is from a custom that kings were crowned the sea to proclaim that their dominion extends over all the waters and to every land.


Packing Up The Holy Furniture


The Kohathites were given the task of carrying the holy furniture of the tabernacle. When camp was to be struck the dismantling and packing of these sacred objects was the task of Aaron and his sons. The Kohathites themselves were not allowed to touch the actual furniture or even look at it for a moment lest they die.

Num 4:1-16 "Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: "Take a census of the sons of Kohath from among the children of Levi, by their families, by their fathers' house, "from thirty years old and above, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service to do the work in the tabernacle of meeting. "This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of meeting, relating to the most holy things: "When the camp prepares to journey, Aaron and his sons shall come, and they shall take down the covering veil and cover the ark of the Testimony with it. Then they shall put on it a covering of badger skins, and spread over that a cloth entirely of blue; and they shall insert its poles. "On the table of showbread they shall spread a blue cloth, and put on it the dishes, the pans, the bowls, and the pitchers for pouring; and the showbread shall be on it. They shall spread over them a scarlet cloth, and cover the same with a covering of badger skins; and they shall insert its poles. "And they shall take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand of the light, with its lamps, its wick-trimmers, its trays, and all its oil vessels, with which they service it. "Then they shall put it with all its utensils in a covering of badger skins, and put it on a carrying beam. "Over the golden altar they shall spread a blue cloth, and cover it with a covering of badger skins; and they shall insert its poles. Then they shall take all the utensils of service with which they minister in the sanctuary, put them in a blue cloth, cover them with a covering of badger skins, and put them on a carrying beam. Also they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth over it. They shall put on it all its implements with which they minister there-- the firepans, the forks, the shovels, the basins, and all the utensils of the altar-- and they shall spread on it a covering of badger skins, and insert its poles. "And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is set to go, then the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them; but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These are the things in the tabernacle of meeting which the sons of Kohath are to carry. The appointed duty of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest is the oil for the light, the sweet incense, the daily grain offering, the anointing oil, the oversight of all the tabernacle, of all that is in it, with the sanctuary and its furnishings."

The object of special attention was of course the Ark of the Covenant. First of all the priests took down the veil and used it to cover the ark. After this it was covered with badger skins and last of all a cloth of solid blue was spread over it. The Levites then carried it out on its poles.

The other items also received three different coverings but on them the waterproof badger skin covering was to be on the outside. It was only the holy ark that stood out in blue that all the people might be able to identify it as the Lord led them.

After the covering procedures were completed the Kohathites removed the various items under the supervision of the priest, Eleazer, who had charge of the sanctuary and was responsible for the Levites who worked there.


It was then the turn of the Gershonites to work on disassembling the tabernacle objects. They were to remove the curtains and coverings from the roof of the holy place together with all the hangings of the linen fence:

Num 4:24-28 "This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, in serving and carrying: "They shall carry the curtains of the tabernacle and the tabernacle of meeting with its covering, the covering of badger skins that is on it, the screen for the door of the tabernacle of meeting, the screen for the door of the gate of the court, the hangings of the court which are around the tabernacle and altar, and their cords, all the furnishings for their service and all that is made for these things: so shall they serve. "Aaron and his sons shall assign all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, all their tasks and all their service. And you shall appoint to them all their tasks as their duty. "This is the service of the families of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of meeting. And their duties shall be under the authority of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.

This was done under the supervision of Aaron's son, Ithamar.


The Merarites disassembled the frames of the tabernacle with its boards and bars. Then they removed all the posts and the pegs and cords that had supported the linen fence around the outer court.


By this time the whole people were ready to journey in a very organized fashion.


The Ark led the way.

First of all the Ark of the Covenant as the symbol of God's leadership was lifted. The poles rested on the shoulders of the Kohathites who then marched at the head of the column with the ark held high. Some interesting Scriptures are:

Num 10:33-36 So they departed from the mountain of the LORD on a journey of three days; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them for the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them. And the cloud of the LORD was above them by day when they went out from the camp. So it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said: "Rise up, O LORD! Let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You. And when it rested, he said: "Return, O LORD, to the many thousands of Israel."

Josh 3:3-4 and they commanded the people, saying, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before."

On the journey the pillar of cloud led them and the Kohathites carrying the ark followed. The tribe of Judah, first of all took up its position and marched behind the ark on the right hand side. Following them towards the center was Issachar and on the left, Zebulun.

Then came the Levite families of Gershon and Merari who were drawing on ox-carts all the structure and coverings of the tabernacle. The Gershonites were given two covered carts pulled by four oxen while the Merarites for their heavier load had four carts and eight oxen.

They were followed by Reuben, Simeon and Gad. After them came the Kohathites carrying on their shoulders the holy articles of furniture (excluding the ark). Therefore, on the march the tabernacle furniture was central with the remaining six tribes following behind as you can see in the illustration.


Copyright ? 1998 The Bible Knowledge Accelerator

The Tabernacle of Moses in Ancient Israel


The Bronze Altar The Bronze Laver The Golden Lampstand

The Cherubim The Tabernacle of Moses in the Wilderness The Cherubim

The Golden Table of Shewbread The Golden Altar of Incense The Ark of the Covenant

"And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among (in) them" - Exodus 25:8

The Purpose and Heart of the Law - A Devotional Message

Blood Atonement - A Bible Study

The Tabernacle of Ancient Israel was a sanctuary which was given in a vision to Moses as a pattern and constructed by the children of Israel. God's promise was that He would dwell within the Holy of Holies above the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant.

Why Study the Tabernacle?

A) 50 Chapters Mention The Tabernacle

Because at least 50 chapters (13-Ex, 18-Lev, 13-Num, 2-Deut, 4-Heb) in the Bible tell of the construction, the ritual, the priesthood, the carrying of the tabernacle, and the meaning of it all. Also many other places in Scripture speak in figurative language concerning the tabernacle. In many Bible studies this subject is overlooked and considered insignificant.


B) The Tearing of the Veil

God Himself thought so much of the importance of the type, as shown by the tearing of the veil:

Matt 27:50-51 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,

If we don't understand the meaning in Scripture of the holy of holies and the veil we miss out on extremely significant information concerning exactly what Christ's death meant to sinful mankind.


C) The Tabernacle is a Type of Christ:

Remember what the Word says, "all Scripture is given by inspiration (God-breathed) of God..." When we look at the Bible we must remember that it is completely God-breathed. When we look at each Word we must remember that every Word is specifically God-breathed. That was the view of Christ when it came to the Scriptures, that was the view of the apostles, and that must be our view. This is the very Word of God. It doesn't just contain the Word of God, or just point to religious experience, this is the Word of God.

Is it any wonder then that each and every detail and Word about the tabernacle has spiritual significance? As we look to the tabernacle structure itself and its unique pieces of redemptive furniture there is great symbolism and typology found in them. Remember, everything was a finger pointing to the Messiah. The tabernacle, as a type, designed specifically and in detail by God, would point to the character and aspects of the ministry of Christ. The more we become familiar with the tabernacle the more we become familiar with Christ and all that He means to us. What a great reason to become familiar with the Scriptures concerning the tabernacle.

Heb 10:20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,

Col 2:17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Jn 1:14 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.

D) It is a Representation of the True Tabernacle in Heaven:

The Lord wants us to be aware of His nature and character. Even the angels don't fully understand the nature and character of God but they learn from watching His dealings with His church (Eph 3). Things are really happening in the heavenly dimension and the Lord wants to reveal to us what took place in heaven after the resurrection of Christ. There is a real tabernacle in the heavenlies and Christ really appeared before the throne of heaven as the Lamb of God (Rev 5). There is no doubt that some of these things are a mystery but the more we draw close to God and His Word the more He draws close to us.

Heb 9:11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.


E) The Presence Within the Holy of Holies Dwells Within the Believer in Jesus:

Jesus said I am the temple (Mishkan) of God. When the glory (Heb. Sh'chinah) would come down like a tornado or funnel right through the roof of the holy of holies and the Presence would manifest on the mercy seat between the cherubim after the blood was sprinkled, that was the mishkan. That Presence was what Jesus said dwelt within Him. And in fact Paul said about the church, "Know ye not that you are the temple (Mishkan) of God?" We, as the body of Christ, have the same Presence dwelling within us. God doesn't dwell in buildings now but within His people.

1 Cor 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?


F) Its teaching covers in type almost all of New Testament truth.

The study of the tabernacle is so rich in meaning to the Christian and so pregnant with Messianic significance that we can spend a lifetime in the study of it and only begin to understand the riches and the depth of truth that lies within the study of the tabernacle.

Rom 15:4 "Whatever things that were written before were written for our learning."

G) Studying the Tabernacle will absolutely strengthen our faith in the Bible.

Be assured that anyone who has delved into the wonderful details of the tabernacle will confess that the Bible is more than just a book. No man could have thought of this. The Bible is the Word of God.

"all Scripture is given by inspiration of God..."



The Tabernacle

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