Click all around on the image below.
Reuben Simeon Judah Dan Naphtali Gad
Asher Issachar Zebulun Ephraim Manasseh Benjamin
'The Encampment of Israel'
ccording to the Writings of Moses there were about 600,000 men and also women and children who left Egypt at
the exodus. They came out of Egypt in rank and in file and as they journeyed in
the wilderness the tribes would camp around the Tabernacle in God-specified locations.
Exod 12:37-38 Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth,
about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. A mixed multitude went
up with them also, and flocks and herds-- a great deal of livestock.
The Twelve Tribes
Each of the twelve tribes had a specific area of the camp to live in. When
their forefathers had moved south to Egypt approximately 400 years earlier they
had done so as a family of twelve households, each headed by one of the sons of
Jacob, who was renamed Israel by God. While they were slaves in Egypt they
preserved their family divisions and over the years the families of the twelve sons
had developed into tribal families or tribes. A good example is in Joshua:
Josh 7:14 'In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your
tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the LORD takes shall come according
to families; and the family which the LORD takes shall come by households; and
the household which the LORD takes shall come man by man.
The twelve tribes, in groups of three, were divinely situated at a certain
distance around the tabernacle. Four of the tribes, Judah, Reuben, Ephraim and Dan were recognized as tribal leaders. Each had its own standard or banner identifying it as a tribal head while the other tribes had ensigns, a lesser
type of banner.
It is important to note that Jacob (the father of the 12 tribes) had
prophesied that the senior position in his family would belong to the people of Judah:
Gen 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between
his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
Judah occupied the greatest area which was on the eastern side facing the
tabernacle entrance behind the tents of Aaron. To their right was the tribe of Issachar and on the other side Zebulun. The tabernacle itself was always found in the very center of the camp with
the tents of the various tribes set up at a certain distance. Judah (with Issachar and Zebulun) on the east numbering 186,400 men. Reuben (with Simeon and Gad) in the south numbering 151,450 men. West was Ephraim (with Manasseh and Benjamin) numbering 108,100 men. On the north side was Dan (with Asher and Naphtali) numbering 157,600 men. This brought the total count of men twenty years and
upwards to 603,550. Not including the tribe of Levi.
Num 2:2 Everyone of the children of Israel shall camp by his own standard,
beside the emblems of his father's house; they shall camp some distance from the
tabernacle of meeting.
Each tribe had a specific banner:
According to Jewish tradition it was believed that the banners of the tribes
were as follows:
Judah - East (Lion of gold with a scarlet background).
Ephraim - West (Ox of black on gold background).
Reuben - South (Man on gold background).
Dan - North (Eagle of gold on a blue background).
The Tribe of Levi (The Consecrated Tribe)
Now although there are the twelve tribes of Israel, we notice that thirteen
names when we identify their places in the encampment. That is because of the
special privilege given to the tribe of Levi when they supported Moses' and joined
his side and "on the Lord's side", at the time of Israel's rebellion. From
that moment on they were ordained for the service of God and set apart as the
This would have left only eleven tribes but the large tribe of Joseph was
divided into two, consisting of the descendants of his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.
Each was regarded as an individual tribe. Not only was the loyal tribe of Levi
involved in an act of dedication but also in one of substitution. On that night
of terror in Egypt when the firstborn of every Egyptian family had been slain,
the Israelite firstborn son lived because a lamb had died in substitution for
him. As soon as this happened God called on Moses to consecrate all those
firstborn sons, and those who would be born in future, to his service. They had been
saved from death while those around them had died. From then on, they were to
be set apart for the service of God.
But when the Levites were chosen as the consecrated tribe, in an act of
substitution they took the place previously required of the firstborn son in each
Moses and his brother Aaron belonged to the tribe of Levi, the third son of
Jacob. Levi had three sons; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Moses and his brother
sprang from the family of Kohath. Having chosen Moses to be leader of his people
God gave further honor to the family of Kohath by selecting Aaron to be the
first of his priests, and commanding that only the descendants of Aaron should
serve as priests and represent the people to God.
The rest of the men of Levi, known as Levites, were charged with the care of
the sanctuary. This was a holy commission which no other group of people in
Israel were permitted to participate in. Only the Levites could handle the
tabernacle and its furnishings when the camp was on the march. When it came to rest
they were the ones to erect it, care for it, and assist the priests (the sons of Aaron) in their work.
The Levite Camp
Camped just outside the tabernacle were the Levite tents. The Levites
performed the priestly duties and therefore were mediators between God and the people.
The tribe of Levi was divided into four families. Their tents were pitched
between the tabernacle and the people, one family on each side. The Kohathites on the south numbering 8,600. The Gershonites on the west numbering 7,500. The Merarites on the north side numbering 6,200. On the eastern side were the tents of Moses, Aaron the high priest, and Aaron's sons the priests.
Camped in the center was God.
A Type of Christ and His People
God camps with His people. His plan was always that He would dwell in us and
be our God. He leads us, he cares for us and He speaks to us with the soft voice
of a husband that is desperately in love with His bride. The flags of each
tribe point to the real banner of God, Jesus Christ. The four faces and the four
colors speak of Him. He is our standard. The Lord is called Jehovah Nissi (The
Lord our banner). As the Levite stood between man and God so Jesus Christ stands
between man and a holy wrathful God to be a mediator and to meet vengeance
with mercy. The Christian will never see the anger side of God. He is our father
and our husband and our friend.
John 17:22-23 "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they
may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made
perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved
them as You have loved Me."
John 6:28-29 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the
works of God? Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you
believe in Him whom He sent."
Heb 7:22-25 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from
continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through
Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
? 1998 The Bible Knowledge Accelerator
THE TABERNACLE OF ANCIENT ISRAEL
"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
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
thought so much of the importance of the type, as shown by the tearing of the
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
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
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
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..."
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