Chapter 20 The Tabernacle

Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle (Exodus 26:1).

Having spoken of the ark and the table and the candlestick, God now speaks of the Tabernacle in which they were to be housed. The Lord has already spoken of His desire for a sanctuary where He could be in constant presence among His people (25:8). Now the detailed plan is given. His people are to build it, but all the parts and materials are God-chosen so as to speak of His beloved Son. The construction represents the apprehension of the saints to this revealing of the Lord.

The length and breadth are given in divine measurements— full, therefore, of meaning. A belt of sockets of silver was to be laid down as a solid foundation. Silver speaks of redemption. Into those sockets boards were to be tenoned to make things stable. The boards were of the same choice shittim wood which, as we have seen, declares our Lord’s humanity— “Behold the Man!” That Manhood is clearly displayed in His birth, in His manger bed, in His weariness when traveling, in His weeping at the grave of Lazarus, and in His thirst upon the cross.

But the boards were covered with pure gold, setting forth the Lord’s deity, which also is clearly discerned in the angel’s song, “Christ the Lord.” His deity is seen in the stilling of the tempest, in His raising of the dead, in His making the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak. It is also perceived in His victory over death, hell, and the grave, and in His mounting to the throne of Heaven. “Behold your God!” The boards thus display our Lord’s dual nature and proclaim the incarnate God. His perfect Manhood qualifies Him to save, and His Godhood provides the power, making Him the perfect Saviour.

The bars bind it all together and we should take note of couplings, clasps, and rings, all of which are, with the bars, to bind into a corporate whole and compact its solidarity. And this is how the saints should build what is of God in Christ “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

Within the house four pillars rose to separate the inner chamber, and these point to the four Gospels and to what our Lord was in the flesh. These pillars, too, were set in silver to show that what is set forth of Christ in the Gospels is based upon His redemptive death. The vail which separated and hung on the four pillars, which was our Lord in figure, was lavish, strong, and costly. The vail barred the way but also gave entrance to the holy of holies. Only God’s beloved Son could face both God and the world outside as the perfect One.

The coverings of the house were four. The first was of brilliant colors, sparkling with cherubic forms, to make the ceiling of the holy of holies a magnificent heavenly sky. This is the Lord in all His glory, which glory can be seen only from within. The second covering was white to show forth the Lord’s absolute innocence, purity, and holiness. The third was red to testify of His blood sacrifice, for He who would save must bleed and die. This sacrifice alone could atone for man’s guilt and shame. The fourth was a very rough covering and of lowly guise—good for protection against the defiling influences of the world, but from the world’s point of view “no beauty that they should desire Him.”

We should not leave the Tabernacle without noticing that there was no floor in the house. That speaks a solemn warning. Nothing of Christ may lie beneath our feet. No type of Him may be trodden down. And yet another lesson—the door of the tabernacle into the outward court stood open at all times to remind us that the Saviour waits to embrace all who will come to Him.

Come, let us sing the matchless worth,
And sweetly sound His glories forth,
Which in the Saviour shine:
To God and Christ our praises bring;
The song, with which the heavens ring,
Now let us gladly join,
Now let us gladly join.

Great are the offices He bears,
And bright His character appears,
Exalted on the throne;
In songs of sweet, adoring praise,
We would, to everlasting days,
Make all His glories known,
Make all His glories known.

Samuel Medley