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The Structure of the Tabernacle

The tabernacle was the structure ordered built by God so that He might dwell among His people (Ex. 25:8). It was to be mobile and constructed to exacting specifications. It is referred to in Ex. 25-27, 30-31, 35-40; Num. 3:25ff; 4:4 ff.; 7:1ff. In all of scripture more space is devoted to the tabernacle than any other topic.

Many books have been written on the spiritual significance of the tabernacle, how it represented Christ, and how it foretold the gospel. The tabernacle consisted of the outer court and the tabernacle. The outer court was entered from the East in which were the altar of burnt offering (Ex. 27:1-8) and the bronze laver (Ex. 30:17-21). The tabernacle stood within the court (Ex. 26:1 ff). It was divided into two main divisions: the holy place and the holy of holies which were separated by a veil (Ex. 26:31 ff), the same veil that was torn from top to bottom at the crucifixion of Jesus (Matt. 27:51). Where the veil had represented the barrier separating sinful man from a holy God (Heb. 9:8), its destruction represented the free access sinners have to God through the blood of Christ (Heb. 10:19 ff). The tabernacle was a place of sacrifice.

The holy place contained three things: first, a table on which was placed the shewbread, the bread of the presence (Ex. 25:23-30), second, a golden lampstand (Ex. 25:31-40) and third, an altar of incense (Ex. 30:1-7). In the holy of holies was the ark of the covenant which contained the Ten Commandments (Ex. 25:16). The holy of holies was entered only once a year by the high priest who offered sacrifice for the nation of Israel.

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