Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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see also: The Purpose & Heart of the Law

'The Law Given Again'

images/A9.giffter the rebellion had been put down, Moses went up into Mount Sinai again. Moses previously had broken the Covenant tablets. They lay in fragments at the foot of the mountain. After Moses had pleaded with God, the Lord spoke again to Moses about the Covenant:

Exod 34:1-2 And the LORD said to Moses, "Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke.

images/BORDER1L.gif So there Moses received the Ten Commandments a second time: Exod 34:1-4 And the LORD said to Moses, "Cut two tablets of stone like the first ones, and I will write on these tablets the words that were on the first tablets which you broke. ...Then Moses rose early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him; and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone...28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And the LORD wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses' hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.

"Moses showing the tables of the law" by Rembrandt 1659 Staatliche Museen Berlin. The Ten Commandments are depicted as engraved in gold letters on black stone, and a glowing radiance comes from Moses' face. The Hebrew word krn is translated as "shone" as with beams or rays of light. The Latin Vulgate translates the word krn as horned. This led medieval artists like Michelangelo to represent Moses as having animal horns protruding from his forehead.



Jewish Tradition

According to Rabbinic tradition the first Commandments referring to God were placed on the right side of the tablet rather than on the left as most assume, since Hebrew is written from right to left. In the Jewish tradition five commandments are placed on both sides of the tablet rather than for example the Catholic tradition where the division is three and seven.

It is also interesting to note that in Jewish tradition the First Commandment is "I am the LORD your God" rather than what is usually taught in the Roman Catholic and Christian traditions, "Thou shalt not have other gods before me."


There was also given hundreds of laws divided into three phases:

Moral Laws (10 Commandments written by the finger of God),

Civil Laws (Dietary and Judicial also), and

Ceremonial Laws (Sacrifices, Feast Days, etc.).


On Hebrew government . . .

"Some nations place the sovereignty of their land in the hands of a single ruler (monarchy), some in the hands of a small number of rulers (oligarchy), and some in the hands of the people (democracy). Moses our Teacher taught us to place our faith in none of these forms of government. He taught us to obey the rule of God, for to God alone did he accord kingship and power. He commanded the people always to raise their eyes to God, for He is the source of all good for mankind in general and for each person in particular and in Him will people find help when they pray to Him in their time of suffering, for no act is hidden from His understanding and no hidden thought of man's heart is hidden from Him."

- Josephus Flavius,

Contra Apion, Volume One


In giving the Law to the Hebrew people, Moses taught the Israelites what the Lord expected of them-- that they were to be a holy people separated from the pagan immorality and idolatry of their surroundings. Here the foundation of Judaism was laid. A God given religious system all centering around the Tabernacle (the place where the blood was sprinkled on the ark), the Sacrifices, and the Priesthood. The Levites were the priestly tribe, and Aaron (Moses' brother) was the first High Priest.

Israel was numbered and organized for war. The 12 Tribes were established (Sons of Jacob) and leaders were appointed for each tribe.



Jewish Tradition

Why was the holy mountain where the Torah was given called Sinai? It is because at this mountain that Moses (Heb. Mosheh) met the Lord. The Lord appeared to him out of the midst of a bush that burned with fire but was not consumed. The word bush in Hebrew is "sneh." According to Jewish tradition the word sinai comes from sneh and would be the name given to the mountain because of the sneh. On this mountain the torah was given through the sneh, a bush that burned but was not consumed just as the Torah would be lit aflame by many and yet never consumed.

Exod 3:2 And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.


The Offering for the Tabernacle

Exod 25:1-8 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: "Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering. And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats' hair; ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate. And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them."

(See also The Holy Materials)

God was calling the people to give from their hearts to His work. These words echo in the words of Jesus Christ:

Matt 10:8 "Freely you have received, freely give."

This revealed that their God would not be distant from His people as with all the gods of the gentiles. The God who spoke to Moses was a personal God immensely concerned with the lives of his people and always seeking their involvement in His worship and desiring their material offerings in a work that would provide a tent for the living God.

God asked them to give in this great work according to their ability. From some the gift of gold, from others simply bronze. Form one the fine linen of Egypt while from another a gift of goat's hair. One man might have silver while another only has some olive oil. He is a gracious God and their gifts were exemplifying an attribute that they saw in Him. Really this time of giving truly revealed what was in their hearts just as the old woman in the time of Jesus:

Mark 12:43-44 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."

So the people who had been stricked with terror at God's Presence were learning that their God was now their husband and was indeed married to His people and He would take his place in the very center of the camp and would lay out a pattern of worship by which they could be in relationship with Him.

Hundreds of years later King Solomon stood amazed at the thought that God has prepared in some way a place by which He could be approached. He asked:

2 Chr 6:18 "But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!"

When God said to Moses that they would be constructing a sanctuary for almighty God He did not leave it to Moses or Aaron or the council of seventy elders to devise a temple worthy of His Presence:

Exod 25:9 "According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it."

It was not left to any of man's imaginations. God's people might provide the materials but the plan would belong entirely to God himself. Man can not think up or institute his own way of approach to a holy God. Nevertheless, God in his grace was willing to make a way by which man in all his sinful ways might approach God and have the assurance that God dwelt with him and the were in relationship because God's Covenant would exist because God cannot fail.

Vash'kanti - mikdash - li - v'assoo - b'tocham

"And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them" (may be in them).


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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