Ps 111:2 The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.
The Lord's works are definitely awesome and one of the greatest pleasures anyone can experience is examining them closely. Man's work, the more we examine it, the more quickly we become bored of it. In time it can be figured out. God's work, the more we examine and look into it, will only attract us all the more. Anything in God's creation- the earth, air, the stars, the more we study it, the more we must admit that we know next to nothing.
The tiniest little things reveal God's handiwork. A small insect or a little snowflake reveal amazing artistry. And God's Word, to the very letter, is the handiwork of God. Totally inexhaustible. To look on the surface is one thing, to look into it is another. We can spend a lifetime studying it and just begin to learn of its riches and creativity. Even the most neglected parts reveal the same perfectness. The beauty of the whole Bible and the one great thought revealed through and through is the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is the key to Scripture. He is the one great idea of the Bible. Know Christ, understand God's thoughts about Him, and you'll understand the Bible.
Rom 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
2 Tim 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The types are, in fact, a set of pictures, directly from the hand of God, by which He would teach His children incomprehensible things.
If we know the reality, we can comprehend the representation, and the greater the acquaintance with the reality, the greater will be the ability to understand the picture. I heard it said, "We may explain a little about how an engine works, but the engineer, to whom every nut and bolt are familiar could point out exactly every detail." As we study the tabernacle we will be examining the types and shadows and their significance in relation to Christ and His work. Before we move on lets look at some theology.
The Tabernacle was a representation and a copy of the true Tabernacle in heaven and a type of Christ.
This brings us to a very important and often misunderstood method of biblical interpretation known as 'typology'. The term is derived from the Greek word 'typos' meaning pattern' or 'figure'. Paul said:
Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
Notice it says that Adam was a "type" of Him who was to come. A 'type' can be been defined as:
'an event, person or object which by its very nature and significance prefigures or foreshadows some later event, person or object'.
Types always originate in the real and historical and they are prophetic in nature, pointing forward to some person or event that is to come. They are all directed towards "Mashiach" (Heb. for Messiah). The Jews knew that their Messiah was the "Haba" or "Coming One" and all their prophets spoke of Him. But now looking in hindsight we can see more clearly how each of the figurative types and shadows pointed to the Messiah.
To help us understand what a type is think of the lamb which the Israelite offered as a sacrifice for the sin he had committed:
Lev 4:32 'If he brings a lamb as his sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish.
Hundreds of years later that lamb could be recognized as being a 'type' of Jesus Christ for it pointed forward to the One whom John the Baptist distinctly identified as, 'the Lamb of God'
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
The significance of any type in the Old Testament might not be apparent until the 'antitype' or fulfillment had come. It is important to note that everything in the Old Testament is a type of which something in the New Testament is the antitype. An example of this is Jonah's experience, which Christ used as a 'type' of his own resurrection.
Matt 12:40 "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
In the case of the Tabernacle and its pattern of approach to God we are on firm ground and in no way reading into the text in regarding it as a type of what is to come. The New Testament book of Hebrews makes this very clear while dealing with the subject of sacrifice:
Heb 9:23-24 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
In this passage the Tabernacle is referred to as 'a copy' of that which came through Messiah. Therefore we have the Tabernacle referred to as 'a copy' (or type) of Jesus Christ, the true sacrifice. Again in Hebrews we are told about the service of the priests on earth:
Heb 8:4-6 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. Note the expression, 'a copy and a shadow.' These words speak about a type of the final reality. In Hebrews 9:9 the writer discusses the actions of the High Priest on the day of atonement in the tabernacle that had to be repeated year after year:
Heb 9:9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience--
So we have biblical authority for a typological interpretation of this subject which speaks of numerous 'copies, shadows and illustrations' of what is to come.
It is also interesting to note that when John speaks of Christ in the introduction to his gospel he says:
John 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.
He uses a Greek verb corresponding to the noun 'tabernacle' so that his statement literally declares 'The Word became flesh and tabernacled (or pitched his tent) among us'.
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..."
© Bible History Online (http://www.bible-history.com)