Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 8
TABERNACLE SET-UP; DESCRIPTION OF MATERIALS:
CHRIST; HIGH PRIESTLY WORK: KADESH-BARNEA
Exodus – Deuteronomy
As we study these lessons together, we trust that each of you will follow these references with us, because we don’t want anyone to go by what we say. We just trust you will be able to see with your own eyes what the The Book really says. And, after all, it is the most thrilling piece of literature on the planet. So we encourage people to get it off the shelf and start studying it.
Let’s get back to The Book now. In our last lesson we were talking about the furnishings in the Tabernacle and had gotten as far the laver of cleansing. During the break time, someone came up and said, “Now you have 12 tribes around the perimeter, and Levi makes 13.” He is so right and I didn’t make a point of it. You want to remember that, as the 12 tribes came together, Joseph was in the 12, but Joseph isn’t up here on the board with the rest. What happened? By the time the tribes get stationed around the Tabernacle, you have the two sons of Joseph, and they are called the two half-tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim. And they take the place of Joseph. That would be twelve plus two, or fourteen. But, Joseph is left out because the two half tribes take his share. And Levi is left out, as they are the priestly tribe. In other words Manasseh and Ephraim take the place of Joseph and Levi. And remember, years later when they go into the Promise Land, Levi does not have an inheritance. They have a central area around the area of Jerusalem for the priests to live. They were entitled to that which came in from all the other tribes. And I guess it’s much the same of God’s servants today. They pretty much depend on the tithes and offerings of their believer friends.
We left off at the laver of cleansing, and remember that all the materials and aspects of the Tabernacle, are a picture of Christ in His finished work of the Cross. Also remember that all the numbers in the Tabernacle can be divided by five. And five, as I said before, is the number of Grace. The little tent or the Holy of Holies, was 15′ x 15′ and the main sanctuary was 30′ x 15′. And as you went through that curtain of linen, white, blue, red, and purple, you would come into this sanctuary where there were no windows, or chairs. There was not a single place to sit down. Why? When Christ finished His work, what did He do? He sat down. Have you ever thought of that before? Hebrews Chapter 1 says, “And after He had finished the work He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high.” Because His work was finished. How about the work of these priests? It was never finished. So that is important to remember. There were no windows within this whole complex, because who alone can be the light? God himself, or Christ again, as the light of the world. Now this little tent (Holy of Holies) was constructed with the wood frame to hold all the cloth (made of Acacia wood, which spoke of Christ’s humanity in his flesh). It was covered with gold (and that spoke of His Deity). He was man and He was God. You will see that throughout this whole construction of the Tabernacle.
As we see this frame, I want to start with the inside first, and work out. After the wood frame was set up, then on the inside (that which they saw as they came in) was this beautiful hand woven linen, and woven throughout it, not only were the colors, but also little cherubim (angelic beings) that were woven, not embroidered. In a commentary I read many years ago, the author thought the cherubim could be seen from either side of the material. Now if you can imagine a little bit, the the light coming from that candlestick of seven candles reflecting off of all this gold against that pure white linen, with the other colors running through it, and these cherubim woven in. It must have been beautiful beyond description. It had to be. But remember I told you a couple of weeks ago, as you went in that sanctuary, you saw the beauty from the inside, not from the outside. And remember I likened it to you and I as believers that have come into the Body of Christ, and we are in-Christ. We see a beauty and a loveliness that the world knows nothing of. Do you see how this is so intricately a picture of Christ?
Then, after the inside linen had been hung, and that was hung on golden hooks where the outer fence was hung on silver, the wood frame was set in blocks of silver. Huge blocks of silver. I read one time that somebody tried to figure the amount of silver and they came up with several tons of just silver. However, I’m not going to say that that was true. Then, as you began to cover this framework, right next to the wood frame itself was the covering of goat’s hair. And then the ram’s skins dyed red. And the outer covering were those badger (or seal) skins and had no beauty to it. But it was capable of withstanding the weather. So that was the construction of that little tent. And then it was divided by the vail. The vail depicted the very body of Christ himself. This vail kept even the priest from any approach to the Holy God who is back behind it. He was represented by that Shekinah glory, a cloud by day, and fiery pillar by night, and it was directly above the Ark of the Covenant. So this vail, this heavy curtain, comprised of this beautiful linen, kept anyone from approaching, except the High Priest once a year. And we will be going to Leviticus 16 in a moment to see how the High Priest goes behind the vail only once a year. But for now, let’s come back to the sanctuary where there are only three pieces of furniture. Over on the north side we have the table of shewbread. It was constructed of wood, covered with gold, and up on it were twelve loaves of unleavened bread. There were six on each side, and they were changed everyday. And of course the shewbread is indicative of Christ, the Bread of Life.
Then over on the south side of the Tabernacle next to the wall and fairly close to the curtain was the golden candlestick, and as John’s Gospel says, “Christ is the light of the world.”He is indeed the golden candlestick. In the center was another little altar, constructed of wood, covered with pure gold, and it had a grate. I’m sure the Priest at different times of the year, but especially on the Day of Atonement, would take coals from off the brazen altar and would carry them in to this little altar inside. Now he would not burn animal fat on this one, but what would he burn? Incense. The smoke of that incense would literally obliterate the presence of God from that High Priest. The smoke would just cover this little room. In the Book of Revelation it tells of the incense being, in reality, representative of the prayers of the saints. So we are also involved in that. And again all of this simply speaks of Christ’s finished work of the Cross. Then after you go behind the vail, we have the Ark of the Covenant.
Thanks to Hollywood, everyone’s heard of the Ark of the Covenant over the past few years. The Ark of the Covenant was, again, wood covered with pure gold. It was just a little box (in Hebrew means coffin). I have a question for everyone. I can’t find it but I think someone can. As we begin here in Sinai and the early wilderness experience, who can tell me what is in that Ark of the Covenant? We know the Ten Commandants of stone, the rod that budded, and a sample of what? Manna. But, a little later in Israel’s history, it’s as plain as day that the only things in the Ark of the Covenant were the tables of stone. My question for anybody that can answer is, when did the Ark stop containing the rod that budded and the sample of the manna? The other thing I want to know is, when does the Ark of the Covenant disappear from view. I know it was there at the time of the Babylonian invasion, but I can’t find anything in the record that the Ark was taken to Babylon. So I want you to study this week and see if you can find those answers. This Ark of the Covenant, as we begin, contained the three items we mentioned. And then above that little hollow box was the Mercy Seat.
The Mercy Seat was pure beaten gold. Because this is strictly the area of the Holy God Himself. Not Christ in His humanity, but God in His Holiness. And it was shaped in the form of cherubim. Two angelic like beings, and their wings literally met over the middle of that little box. And those cherubim of course indicated a covering of God’s mercy. And God’s mercy is the only thing that could answer to that which was in the box. And that was the Law. The Law is so demanding, and there is only one way that we can even come close to satisfying the demands of the law and that is in God’s mercy. That is why we have the mercy seat. Now in order to wrap all of this up, and hopefully I can do that in this lesson, I want us to now go back to the Book of Romans Chapter 3. I’ve had a lot of people tell me, “Les don’t spend too much time on that Tabernacle, because after all it’s not all that interesting” Well I found that the more interested you are in real Bible study, the more glorious this Tabernacle becomes. And here is the reason:
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Every human being, going all the way back to what man? Adam. We have all sinned – Jew and Gentile.
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Now verse 25, here is the verse I want:
“Whom God hath set forth (watch your grammar here. Who is the Whom referring to? Christ Jesus in verse 24. So it’s Christ Jesus that God hath set forth) to be a propitiation(propitiation is a great big word that people just stumble over and hope they don’t have to deal with it again. But it is not that kind of a word. It is, in my line of thinking, the most inclusive one word in the whole New Testament. Christ is our propitiation. And how does he become your propitiation? By Faith! He becomes our propitiation) through faith in his blood (not His life. Not His three years of exemplar miracle working and so forth. He can only become the propitiation through faith in His blood, whereby he can), declare his righteousness (not yours or mine) for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God:” And then I love verse 26:
“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: (Who’s righteousness? Christ the propitiator) that he (Christ) might be just (what does just mean in plain English? Fair) and the justifier of him (that repents and is baptized? No, that is not what is says. It says) which believeth in Jesus.” And what is believing? Faith. And what is faith? It is believing. You see, you can’t escape it.
Let’s put all of this in perspective. I have read all kinds of commentary on this, and most of it doesn’t make sense to me. But I want to make it real simple. The word propitiation is used one more time, and we might as well look at it. It is in I John Chapter 2. As far as I know these are the only two places the word is used:
I John 2:1
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. (naturally God doesn’t want us to sin, but He knows we are going to) And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” The word righteous popped up over here in Romans and here it is again. Christ is the righteous.
I John 2:2
“And he is the propitiation (Who is the propitiation? Christ.) for our sins (As believers): and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world”
That’s why I’m not a dyed-in-the-wool Calvinist. Calvin maintained that his redemption was only for those who would believe. They called it limited atonement. I can’t buy that because the Scripture is so plain, that His death was enough for every human being who was ever brought onto the scene. Propitiation, What is it? This whole Tabernacle and the elements in it, from the gold and silver and all the beautiful materials, to the wood, brass, and everything you can think of within the confines of the Tabernacle and it’s court; from behind the vail to the very presence of God, resting in mercy above the Law; every jot and tittle of it is a picture of Christ’s finished work. That’s propitiation!
Let me do a little more construction. He became our sacrifice at the Cross. He fulfilled everything that the brazen altar could ever speak of. He became our laver of cleansing. It’s His Word that shows us our needs as well as cleanses us. You move in and He is indeed the table of shewbread. He is the Bread of Life. He is the Light of the world. He is the very sweet smelling incense. He is the Mercy Seat. He is the God of the Shekinah glory. But not only that, we will be looking at the Day of Atonement here in a little while. He is also the High Priest that comes in once a year back in Israel’s history, to present what? The blood upon the mercy seat in the very presence of God. Turn back with me now to John’s gospel, and see how He completely answered all of this, in what I call the finished work of Christ.
I’d like to have you come to Chapter 20. As most of my class people know, I never know where I’m going to go next, so I can’t give you any fair warning. You all know the account, how that Mary Magdalene had gone early to the sepulchre to anoint the body, as was the custom. When she got there, the tomb was empty and the stone was rolled away. And she ran and told Peter and John and they come running, and they suddenly realized that Mary was right, He must have indeed risen from the dead. And then I always like to point out verse 9, just to back up a good portion of my teaching which sometimes shakes people up when they first hear it, and that is that Jesus and the twelve never preached our Gospel as we know it. They didn’t preach death, burial and resurrection. They didn’t even believe any of it themselves. How could they preach it? And verse 9 makes it so clear. They suddenly realized that something had taken place and they knew that He must have been raised from the dead. Then in Verse 9,
“For as yet they (Peter and John) knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead”
Had they known that he was going to rise from the dead, where would they have camped out that night? At the tomb, and so would have all of His followers. But they didn’t, they all went home and thought it was all over. And come down to Verse 15, where Mary sees this man standing there. She didn’t know it was Jesus and assumed it was the gardener. Starting at verse 14:
“And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, `Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?’ She, supposing him to be the gardener…”
Here Jesus is appearing to her and she thinks He’s the gardener. Now when you read something like that, I’m always telling you to ask yourself some questions. Does a gardener look like a ghost? Does a gardener look like some fog you see when they “beam” people up on Star Trek? No, a gardener looks how? Very human. Very ordinary. Now don’t miss that. Jesus is standing there; now I know it’s probably in the pre-dawn and semi-dark. Again I must point out that the last view Mary had of Jesus was on the Cross, remember? And was that a pretty sight? That was awful. The Book of Isaiah says what? No man has ever been so disfigured as Jesus was. Now naturally, that was the last view that Mary remembered of Christ.
In that pre-dawn darkness she sees a very normal human being, thinking it’s the gardener. I want you to get that straight because I want you to understand that Jesus, in His resurrected body, from all outward appearances, didn’t look any different than anyone else. Witness the people on the road to Emmaus. He fell in step with them. In spite of all their tears and gloom and doom, did He look so much different to them that they caught on that some kind of a ghost was walking with them? No. And He said, “Well, what’s troubling you?” And they began to rehearse everything that had happened. They didn’t catch on. He walked in the house and He sat down at the table with them. He must have partook with them. They still didn’t know Who it was. And then all of a suddenly, what? He was gone. So now all of these things are what you have to gather here from just a few little words, “Mary supposed him to be the gardener.” We will pick this up in the next lesson.