Making a Nation Out of a Mob, Part 5 (The Covenant & the Cross #76)

Today’s passage of Scripture is Exodus 27:18-21 which reads: “The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass. All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass. And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the Lord: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.”

Today’s Covenant & the Cross quote about the Bible is from A.W. Tozer. He said: “The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.”

Our topic for today is titled “Making a Nation Out of a Mob (Part 5)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

— GOD’S TABERNACLE

The first of these two Scripture passages lays out the guidelines for the tabernacle. The second describes the construction process and tells us that it was built according to plan. Essentially the tabernacle was a tent within a curtained courtyard. The entire structure was designed to be portable so that the people could take it along with them. There is also the possibility that the structure was designed to be moved to different locations within the land.

The tabernacle had three sections. First was the courtyard, approximately 150 by 75 feet, which was defined by the curtains that hung on wooden frames. Oriented with the long axis pointing east-west, it had an entrance gateway on the east side. In addition to the inner tent, the courtyard contained a bronze (or bronze-covered wood) altar for the animal sacrifices and a bronze basin for washing the hands and feet of the priests. Beyond the altar and basin was the actual tent of the tabernacle, which was approximately 15 by 30 feet. It too was made of wooden frames and curtains woven from linen, covered with goat hair cloth and animal skins.

This structure was divided into two sections. The outer (or front) section was called the Holy Place. Here the Israelites had three items: a table that held the bread of the Presence, an incense altar, and the lampstand. The first two symbolized the nation before God. The twelve loaves of the bread of the Presence represented the Israelites’ presence before God, and the incense offered in the morning and evening symbolized their prayers. The lampstand seems to have served a practical purpose of providing light within the closed tent. The final portion of the tabernacle was the Holy of Holies. This room held only the ark of the covenant.

The ark was basically a gold-covered wooden box with rings on the sides to allow it to be carried. It was approximately 3-and-3-quarter by 2-and-one-fourth by 2-and-one-fourth feet in size. On top of the ark was a lid called the “atonement cover” (“mercy seat”). Here were two cherubim with their wings stretched across the top, meeting in the middle. This was the place where God met with the nation, and thus it would have been the focal point of the Shekinah, the manifestation of God’s glory. No one was allowed into the Holy of Holies except the high priest on the Day of Atonement—and then only after extensive ritual cleansing.

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