Today we begin Exodus Chapter 26.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
Okay, admittedly, Exodus chapter 26 reads more like a sophisticated engineering manual than inspiring religious prose.
But this ain’t no ordinary manual man!
It is the very God-ordained instructions to the holiest object ever to touch the face of our planet!
Although some of us might be inclined to use this portion of Scripture as a sleeping pill substitute, I would encourage you to maintain your mental alertness as we move forward, because it will pay off in spades big time and your understanding of so many other parts of Scripture will be greatly enhanced.
Some quick points of review.
First, recall that the Tabernacle was divided into 3 zones of varying degrees of holiness as follows:
HOLY OF HOLIES
True to its title, this area held the highest degree of holiness and was where the Ark of the Covenant was placed.
ONLY the High Priest could enter here and he could only go in once a year.
THE HOLY PLACE
This is the area with slightly less holiness than the Holy of Holies and was where the Altar of Incense, the Table of Showbread, and the 7-branched Golden Lamp-stand (MENORAH) were placed.
Besides the High Priest, only the common priests (all from the Tribe of Levi) were allowed to go inside.
The common people were NOT allowed inside this area.
THE OUTER COURTYARD
This was the area with the least degree of Holiness but still Holy nevertheless.
This was where the Bronze Laver and the Altar of Burnt Offerings were located.
The whole Tabernacle was surrounded by a fence made out of cloth and only the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place was enclosed in a tent with an overhead roof.
The Tabernacle was always oriented in an east-west fashion with the tent portion located down towards the Western end.
The entrance to the Tabernacle, a 30 foot wide gateway, ALWAYS faced east.
And the perimeter of the court was about 150 (length) x 75 (width) feet.
One of key features of Tabernacle is that it had be to mobile so that the Israelites could readily pick up and go whenever the Lord directed them to move.
All of the specifications we’re given here in Exodus chapter 26 show that the Tabernacle was meant to be assembled, disassembled, and transported multiple times like clockwork.
The daunting conditions of the desert with its fierce winds and scorching heat also had to be taken into account.
Since the materials of the Tabernacle had to be both durable and rugged, lightweight materials were not used.
This was a major operation.
We aren’t given the details in the Book of Exodus, but according to the Book of Numbers, a whole team of oxen were used to transport the Tabernacle!
Kind of reminds me of a traveling circus.
As far as I can tell from Scripture, it appears that all the furnishings of the Tabernacle, the Ark, and the Menorah etcetera were all carried by hand.
But here’s the thing.
Specific clans from the Tribe of Levi were assigned specific articles to handle and carry.
To attempt to carry an article or perform a task that was not assigned to you was considered a trespass against the Lord.
I sense an important lesson here.
In order to bring about His Will on earth, the Lord has assigned each of us with individual tasks that we are to perform for the Kingdom.
To use Paul’s human body analogy, some were meant to be eyes for the Kingdom, some hands, some feet etcetera.
If you were meant to be a hand, don’t try to be a foot.
If you were meant to be the eyes, don’t be envious of somebody who has been called to be the ears.
I’ll go even further and say, you can never really achieve true satisfaction in this life (or the next) until you surrender yourself to the Lord’s will for your life and accept yourself as He has created you, warts and all.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Now there are different kinds of gifts,
but the same Spirit gives them.
Also there are different ways of serving,
but it is the same Lord being served.
And there are different modes of working,
but it is the same God working them all in everyone.
Moreover, to each person is given
the particular manifestation of the Spirit
that will be for the common good.
To one, through the Spirit,
is given a word of wisdom;
to another, a word of knowledge,
in accordance with the same Spirit;
to another, faith, by the same Spirit;
and to another, gifts of healing, by the one Spirit;
to another, the working of miracles;
to another, prophecy;
to another, the ability to judge between spirits;
to another, the ability to speak in different kinds of tongues;
and to yet another, the ability to interpret tongues.
One and the same Spirit is at work in all these things,
distributing to each person as he chooses.
For just as the body is one but has many parts;
and all the parts of the body,
though many, constitute one body;
so it is with the Messiah.
For it was by one Spirit that
we were all immersed into one body,
whether Jews or Gentiles,
slaves or free;
and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
-1 Corinthians 12:4-13