Archive for category Tabernacle
The Passover is a reminder of Israel’s escape from Egypt, the night the angel passed over the houses that had the blood of the lamb. For Christians, the passover foreshadows the perfect lamb of God, Jesus, whose blood is the source of a new covenant God made with all people rather than just the offspring of one man (Abraham). It is the blood of Christ that cleanses people that makes them holy and acceptable before God.
All of the feasts require great faith in God. Imagine this, you are surrounded by nations that hate you, and yet you publish the dates and places where every male 13 and older will be gathered. God promised that if they were faithful their goods and land would be safe when they gathered at the feasts.
The day of Atonement is considered by Judaism as its most holy day, when the High Priest would enter for the only time each year into the Most Holy Place, the inner room of the Tabernacle or Temple. What is incredibly fascinating to me, is that this holy day is also foreshadows Jesus as our High Priest, though not according to Aaron’s priesthood but Melchizedek’s. But there is another character in the day of Atonement that foreshadows Jesus as well, that is the scapegoat, the goat upon whom the sins of the nation would be placed and sent out of the city. This is one of the reasons that Jesus Crucifixion was outside of the city walls in Jerusalem on the hill of Golgotha.
Israel demonstrated their fear of men and dying, but they did not have a proper fear of God. They worried more about what might happen to their flesh rather than what God could do to their spirit. So they grumbled and complained when they were hungry and afraid, but did not respect the awesome power of God enough to honor Him and do what He commanded.
In this section of Numbers, 3 men along with 250 leaders of Israel oppose Moses’ and Aaron’s authority. They claim Moses and Aaron have taken their positions by their own power. However they were opposing God, not men. God demonstrates this to the nation by opening the earth to swallow up the households of the three men who lead the opposition and burning up the 250 men who followed them.
After witnessing the destruction of the rebellious men, what does the rest of the nation do? Why naturally they rebel themselves (sarcasm). This episode demonstrates, more than just about any other, the rebellious character of the adult Israelites who came out of Egypt. But even with Israel opposing Moses and Aaron, they made incense offerings to save the people. Finally, after 14,700 people died, the people finally realize they will die if they approach the Tabernacle of God and are willing to submit to the ministry of the priests.
How often have we rebelled against the commands of God yet we were not destroyed as we deserved, but instead we received grace because of the love of God and the offering of Jesus.
Israel has been out of Egypt for a year at the 2nd passover, but it is really the first memorial of the actual event when God passed over Israel’s houses when destroying the firstborn in Egypt. It is also the night when Israel left Egypt. They have been living in the desert for a year now. They have built the Tabernacle, appointed the priests and now God will count Israel and organize them around the Tent of Meeting.
Ephraim and Manasseh are counted as separate tribes, though it is mentioned they are sons of Joseph. However remember that Jacob asked Joseph to give him the two boys, so they become two tribes in Israel. Yet there continues to be 12 tribes of Israel. How? Well, if you notice Levi is not counted among the 12 tribes, God has separated them to himself that they might be his ministers to serve the rest of the people. Likewise, Christians are separated to God to serve the rest of mankind, which is why they are referred to as priests in the New Testament.
This reading starts with God choosing the tribe of Levi to serve Aaron and his sons, the priests. God says that he took the Levites to replace the firstborn males of Israel, which God had already declared that the firstborn are God’s. The idea that the firstborn are God’s is brought into the New Testament in a number of places, I believe it is an image of the church that is redeemed by the blood of Christ.
I wonder why God chose Levi instead of the firstborn to be the ministers for the nation?
- Is it because Moses and Aaron were Levites?
- Is it because the Levites rallied to Moses for God’s sake in the golden calf incident? Of course, it was a Levite and priest (Aaron) who made the idol.
- Is it because the number of Levites is roughly the same as the number of firstborn? or because they were small enough to be supported by the offerings of Israel?
- Is it for all these reasons?
- Of course in the end the why isn’t as important as the what. God chose them to serve him.
Did you notice that the Levites could only work from age 25-50 in the Tabernacle? I assume that before age 25 they would be training in the service and after 50 they would be the teachers and trainers for others to serve. I’m guessing this was part of the work of assisting the workers, but it makes sense to me and I believe we see this as a pretty normal pattern for all kinds of work forces throughout the world.
When they completed making everything to construct the Tabernacle, it tells us Moses set it up. It reads as if Moses did this by himself, but I’m thinking that the passage means Moses lead this task with the help of the Levites who were instructed by God to set up and take down the tent and courtyard.
When one reads the book of Exodus it seems as if everything happens day after day so if there wasn’t any references to time, it would take at most a year or so. But, remember that the book of Exodus starts with the birth of Moses and brings us at least 81 years later since Moses was called by God to lead Israel out of Egypt when he was 80 years old. At the completion of the Tabernacle Israel has been out of Egypt exactly 1 year. Imagine yourself living in tents in the desert for a year, how long would it seem to you then? Reading about what the exodus seems like it was quick, but I think if I lived it, it would seem like forever. And for all but two of the adults in Israel their life in the desert will be the rest of their fleshly life.
The glory of God filling the Tabernacle must have been an awesome sight, of course maybe they were used to it by this time since the cloud had been with them for a year at this point.
The thing I find most interesting about the building of the tabernacle is the Spirit filled craftsman. God had such precise designs and building qualities in mind that normal talent and craftmenship apparently wasn’t enough. The artists and craftsmen were inspired by the Spirit of God to work with gold, silver, bronze, stone, wood. I find this rather uplifting in an age that seems to worship at the feet of everything tech (and those of you who know me, know, I love my tech gadgets too) that even the work done by hand in what is today often thought of as menial labor has value enough for God to inspire it.
I also noticed that a couple of men were skilled also at teaching others to do the work. This reminds me of Romans chapter 12, when it calls on those who have the gift of teaching use it for God to teach. It is a reminder that the talent to teach another is additional to the knowledge or skill to do something.
It is impressive that Israel had such a heart toward giving to build the Tabernacle that Moses had to send out a message to stop and restrain them from giving anymore. Boy, what a great example for us.
I’m probably much like the rest of you, when I read through the details of sacrifices, offerings, clothing, etc. I gloss over a little. I think it is because we don’t have any connection to these very detailed rituals. However I try to remember that these instructions are a shadow of the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. What is significant to me is the great detail God provides and he’s only dealing with the shadow of the real thing. How much more detailed must the real Tabernacle be that we cannot see with eyes, but is built without hands by God with the disciples of Jesus.
When I read about the sacrificing of the animals, I can’t help picturing the butcher shops in the grocery stores I worked at. In the back room, where the butchering of animals took place, the blood of the animals had to constantly be cleaned off of everything. I keep picturing the magnificent golden vessels in the Tabernacle being sprinkled with blood. How ugly that would be on such beautiful and ornate vessels. Maybe that is exactly what God wants us to understand about sin, that it destroys the goodness of God’s creation.