From the Pastor’s Desk  
Tabernacle The Importance of the Tabernacle Lesson 1
Manchaca Bible Fellowship
May 20, 2001 Bible Lessons
Operation Outreach

This morning marks the start of a long and glorious Biblical journey. One that started in Heaven in eternity past, and will conclude in the New Heaven and New Earth in eternity future. It will be a study touching, in some detail, almost EVERY major teaching of the Word of God.

The Tabernacle, its service and worship is a picture form of Christ, the entire plan of redemption and the Christian's walk in holiness. No other single item has been so widely used by the Holy Spirit, in the Scriptures, to portray Christ and the Believer's walk in holiness.

So let's get started!!! Please, turn in your Bibles, your minds or follow the printed text to....

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

No! I may be ancient and my mind's not what it used to be, but I haven't completely lost it, yet. Turning to Genesis chapter one is not a computer error. We are in the study of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, NOT creation.

I wanted to point out that the Holy Spirit, in allocating space throughout the Word of God to different subjects, gave two chapters to the description of creation, and a number of short references, to the same, throughout the Bible.


the same Holy Spirit gave 50+ chapters to the description of the Tabernacle and the ministries thereof.

Not only is there such volume of space given to the actual building and instructions for the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle and its ministries are mentioned over and over again throughout the entirety of Scripture.

The Spiritual insights and truths found in Hebrews are almost totally based on the knowledge and understanding of the Tabernacle and its ministries. Paul and other New Testament writers refer to and use the Tabernacle as a reference and the base for many teachings.

The tabernacle was fashioned after a pattern of something of "like" nature that is in heaven. There will be a structure of somewhat similar nature in the coming Kingdom, and in eternity. The ritual will be different, but it will be after the same "pattern". We will see more details about the substance and form of the heavenly "structure" later in this series.

In spite of the obvious emphasis by the Holy Spirit on this subject, and the lack of emphasis on the subject of creation, there have been literally thousands of volumes written about the two chapters of creation.

However, precious little teaching, to say nothing of real research has been given to the Biblical subject of the Tabernacle and its ministries..., except books and films on locating the Ark of the Covenant.

We have many religious organizations today devoted wholly to the subject of creation, both in research and teaching. However, I don't know of one organization that is devoted to the teaching of the Tabernacle.

These many "creation type" organizations raise and spend millions of dollars..., and more power to them. Yet, somehow it seems that just maybe the Christian community has, once again, become unbalanced... or at least overbalanced in our zest for apologetics concerning the Word of God, in contrast to our obedience to the Word of God.

The Holy Spirit uses the Tabernacle and its ministries to teach, in picture form, the plan of redemption. We can learn about the redemption program from other passages of Scripture, also.

However, in the types, symbols and teaching of the Tabernacle, we have, in kernel form, the entire plan of redemption in visual outline which is progressively taught in fragmented form throughout the Scriptures. In the Tabernacle, the Holy Spirit teaches many truths that were not placed in writing until after the death of Christ.

Please, be assured that the full teaching found in the Tabernacle CANNOT be understood without the divine commentary found throughout the entire Scriptures. On the flip side, it is difficult and maybe impossible to have a full and complete understanding of the text of Scripture WITHOUT a clear understanding of the Tabernacle and it function.

Over and over again, God reminded Moses that they must build the Tabernacle and its service items according to the "pattern" given by God to Moses on the "mountain". There were very good reasons for it to be built according to the "pattern", as is pointed out in Hebrews and elsewhere.

Exodus 25:40 "And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.
Exodus 26:30 "And you shall raise up the tabernacle according to its pattern which you were shown on the mountain.
Numbers 8:4 Now this workmanship of the lampstand was of hammered gold; from its shaft to its flowers it was hammered work. According to the pattern which the LORD had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.

The list of passages could go on and on. That same theme is echoed in the New Testament. Stephen, in his great speech of Biblical defense, makes mention of this fact.

Acts 7:44 "Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen,

The writer of Hebrews also points out this fact, and give us further insights.

Hebrews 8:4 For if He (Christ) were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 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." 6 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.

The Law, the Tabernacle and all associated with them were a copy, as a shadow is of the real thing. In this case, the shadow was very glorious!!! Even so, it was only an earthly shadow of heavenly things. Because the natural mind CANNOT perceive or receive Spiritual truth in and of itself, God gave us a physical "shadow" of the real Spiritual "thing", so we could have some comprehension of what true Spirituality is really like.

Christ, if He were to minister on earth, would not nor could not be a Levitical Priest according to Law given by God at the same time He gave the plans for the Tabernacle. Christ IS a Priest, BUT not after the fashion of the "shadow" seen in the Law.

The Person of Christ, and His ministry cast that "shadow". Christ's Person and ministry are FAR MORE "excellent", than those earthly priests and that temporary covenant. Certainly, any "shadow" cast by such an excellent heavenly Personage and ministry would be glorious. IF the shadow is glorious, and it is, THEN the real thing is FAR more so.

2 Corinthians 3:7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. 12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech-- 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.

The "shadow" of this glorious person and His precious fellowship was a ministry of condemnation. The "shadow" or the Tabernacle and its service could only show how lacking the worshiper was of any of the true glory found in the real thing. The "shadow" was helpless to provide any remedy for the sin of mankind. The "shadow" could only show how sinful the person was, and how totally void they were of any righteousness.

Hebrews 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

The "shadow" was a constant reminder of their sins, and the fact that those sins were not being redeemed or taken away by the "shadow". Therefore, the ministry of the Tabernacle brought more condemnation than expectation. However, in the typical teaching of that ministry, there is far more expectation than condemnation.

The Law and all involved in it, including the Tabernacle pointed out sin and pointed to a Savior, Who was Christ. The Jews had the wrong view or opinion of the Law and Tabernacle worship. They saw themselves as better, or more righteousness than others BECAUSE they were the custodians of the Law.

Romans 3:1 What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?
Oracles = (Greek) Utterances of God

The Israelites were highly favored because they were the custodians of the "oracles of God". Just having these "oracles" was a blessing. If they had truly believed the teaching and purpose of those "oracles", then those "oracles" would have brought "hope" and "expectation".

(1) HOPE... because they would have seen the sinfulness of their sin, and realized that there was no righteousness in themselves that could counter such sin. Therefore, they could not, nor did God expect them to provide a remedy for their sins. Their only obligation was simple obedience.

By the way, there is NO hope for sinner or saint until they see and recognize their sin as God see those sins.

Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

(2) EXPECTATION.... because they would have seen that the Law (called the Old Covenant) was to be fulfilled by a substitute (not themselves) sent from God, known as the Messiah.

Just as with the Israelites, if we want to have Spiritual Hope and Expectation for time and eternity, then there is no need to try to convince ourselves or others that we are not sinners. As a matter of fact, when we allow the Law to do its job (convincing us of sin, and pointing us to Christ), then there is Hope and valid Expectations. Apart from the recognition of our helpless sinful state, and the acceptance of God's provision, there is NO hope, at all.

As long as a person thinks they will be accepted by God through obeying or keeping the Law perfectly.., THEN all Hope is gone, and the only thing they can Expect for eternity is Judgment. Any person who has given more than a passing glance at the Law, KNOWS that they cannot keep the Law. Therefore, IF being accepted by God is dependent on perfectly emulating the Law through their own efforts.., THEN the best that person can hope for or expect is..... despair in this life and dread of the one to come.

Just because the Israelites were the "caretakers" of God's Law, DID NOT mean that they had to be or look like they were perfect. That is equally true for us who are the administrators of God's New Covenant. The Holy Spirit through the writings of the Apostles makes that perfectly clear. BUT none the less, we so often try to give the impression that we have arrived Spiritually, and that there is no lack in our lives.

1 John 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. 5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Instead of "hope" and "expectation", the Law caused "self-righteousness" and "despair". This "result" of the Law was not because of a flaw or weakness in the Law, BUT because of a native weakness of the flesh.

Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilledin us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

We will not follow that fact further in this lesson, BUT please note that there is a "righteous requirement" of the Law. Anyone who expects to have a personal relationship with God must have met that "righteous requirement".

The Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that any Believer who is walking by the Spirit has that "righteous requirement" fulfilled in them.., not by them. The "righteous requirement" of the Law was fulfilled by and only by Christ.

The Believer has the Holy Spirit, as well as the rest of the Godhead, dwelling within their life. Therefore, within each Believer dwells the fulfillment of the "righteous requirement" of the Law. When that Believer is walking in the Spirit, THEN that "requirement of the Law" is being fulfilled in them, by God, through the Holy Spirit. More later, but Paul describes this process in.....

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Because the Israelites did not realize this truth (even though it is pictured in the Tabernacle and its service), they lived in despair, cloaked in hypocrisy. This internal despair caused them to turn to false gods, idols and vain philosophies in hope of finding reality. That same fact is true in the Believer who does not live in the reality of these facts.

This lack of understanding all started (or at least was aided on its way) by a good sermon illustration, that Moses applied very badly. However, as we will see, Moses cannot bear the entire fault of this misunderstanding that led to self-righteousness and legalism . Look again at....

2 Corinthians 3:7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. 12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech-- 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were hardened. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.

We will examine this passage in more detail later. For right now, we need to see several things:

  1. Being in the presence of God, brings personal change.
  2. The longer we are away from the presence of God, the change progressively is lost.
  3. The Law is important and is the very "oracle" of God, BUT the Law cannot bring change to a human life.
  4. The Law points out the need for change... the element needing change is SIN.
  5. The Law points to the Source of change.... that Source is CHRIST.

By Moses covering or veiling his face, the people could not see that the glory was passing away by degrees. The longer he was away from the presence of God, the less glory was seen in his face. They, like any human, associated the glory in Moses' face with physical "items": the Law, the plans for the Tabernacle, etc.

This fact of the improper association of the source of "glory" is also true of many Believers. I'm sure you remember the story of Ananias and Sapphira in the early church. Barnabas, another member of that church, sold some land and gave the proceeds to the disciples to be used as needed. As a result, Barnabas receive praise and attention from those in the church.

Evidently, Ananias and Sapphira wanted the same "glory", and thought that this "glory" had as its source the giving of money. So they tried to imitate what Barnabas had done, so as to also receive glory. However, they were not honest in their motive or their actions. As a result, were punished by death.

I'm glad that God does not use the same degree of punishment for our wrong motives and actions. Because IF he did, there would not be many of us around to share in this lesson.

The point I want see in this whole matter is that physical "items", whether associated with the Law or Christian living, are not the source of Spiritual blessing and living. This was one of the lessons the Holy Spirit wanted to demonstrate by this account. The glory came to Moses while in the presence of God, but faded when away from God's presence.

If the Israelites had seen the end of the glory in Moses' face, they could have known there was something more glorious and permanent, yet to come. They would have know this because the Law and Tabernacle were still there.., AND the glory in Moses' face was fading. Therefore, something MUCH better than the Law and the Tabernacle caused that glory. Among other things, this example shows us HOW important it is to teach properly by word and action.

If the people had seen the glory fade, they would have been looking forward to the "better covenant", the New Covenant in which God Himself dwells within each Believer. With God in each Believer, the Believer remains in the presence of God and can continue to be changed from one degree of glory to another degree of glory.

2 Corinthians 3:16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.

The Jews came to believed that the Law was a permanent factor, and through the observance of its rituals, the world would be changed and Messiah would rule. Therefore, they were expecting a Messiah, but they were not expecting the Messiah to bring with Him a New Covenant that would be far more glorious than the Old Covenant, called the Law.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. 10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
1 Peter 1:10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven-- things which angels desire to look into. 13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2001