The Tabernacle

The Tabernacle of Moses

"And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it." Exodus 25:8-9

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

The Tabernacle

The Tabernacle was the portable sanctuary which contained the holy vessels of furniture including the "ark of the Covenant" (the box that contained the two tables of the Law) serving as a place of worship for the Israelites from the time of Moses and the wilderness wanderings until the Temple of Solomon was built. It represented God's throne on the earth and typified God dwelling in His people just as the New Testament reveals the fulfillment that our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19).

The Tabernacle was 150 feet long and 75 feet wide. The curtain around the outer court was of fine white linen, which were fastened to 60 supporting pillars of bronze.

Within the outer court there were the great "bronze altar of burnt offering" (Ex 27) used for sacrifices and offerings, and the "bronze laver" (Ex 30) used for the cleansing and purifications of the priests.

The Tabernacle itself stood at the West end of the court and was a wooden structure overlaid with gold 45 x 15 feet divided into two parts by a heavy curtain called the "Veil."

The bigger part (30 x 15) was called "the holy place" and contained three golden articles of furniture. "The table of showbread," "the golden candlestick," and "the golden altar" of incense, each fulfilling certain functions.

The smaller part (15 x 15) was called "the holy of holies" and contained only "the ark of the covenant." This is where the blood was sprinkled on the lid "mercy seat" on the day of atonement once per year by the high priest. The glory of the Lord would be the only light in the room.

As the Israelites marched in the wilderness, the Levites (priestly tribe) would disassemble the Tabernacle, and, the ark carried by the priests on two poles would lead them as they went, with the glory cloud hovering over them.

Num 10:33-36 So they departed from the mountain of the LORD on a journey of three days; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them for the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them. And the cloud of the LORD was above them by day when they went out from the camp. So it was, whenever the ark set out, that Moses said:

"Rise up, O LORD! Let Your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You." And when it rested, he said: "Return, O LORD, to the many thousands of Israel."