Author: Ron Graham

History of Israel

The Tabernacle and the Priesthood
—And what it all means

Time ~ 3. Wandering in the Wilderness
Span ~ 40 years
Books ~ Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Figures ~ Moses
Begins with ~ Exodus from Egypt across Red Sea
Ends with ~ Entry into promised Land across Jordan

This lesson is about the making of the tabernacle and appointment of the priesthood at Mt Sinai.

You may not want to get bogged down in all the detail concerning this matter, so just choose those things which interest you from the Bible summaries.

1 The Tent and its Ministers

During the encampment at Sinai, God gave the Law to Moses on the mountain. Included in this law were instructions about the tabernacle and priesthood.

It was there in the wilderness that the tabernacle was crafted, and the priesthood was established.

2 Bible Summary (Exodus 25-31, 35-40)

Instructions for the tabernacle

Items of tabernacle furniture are in bold.
The chapter numbers shown in square brackets
are those referring to the actual construction.

3 Symbols and Shadows

These laws and religious institutions were symbolic representations of Christian priesthood and worship.

They were "the shadow of the good things to come" which we now enjoy (Hebrews 10:1).

Their symbolic relevance make them worthy of some meditation and understanding on our part.

The Tabernacle, the priesthood, and the grand assembly of the people, constituted "the church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38).

That congregation, tabernacle, and priesthood, was a symbol or foreshadowing of the real church of Christ —the kingdom of heaven— today (Hebrews 12:22-24, Hebrews 8:1-6).

You may not want to get bogged down in all the detail concerning this matter, so just choose those things which interest you from the Bible summaries.

4 Bible Summary (Leviticus 1-27)

5 Questions to Consider

6 Bible Summary (Numbers 1-10)

7 The Hebrew Writer's Description

The tabernacle and its appointments (Hebrews 9:1-12)

¶“1The first [covenant] truly had regulations for worship in an earthly sanctuary. 2A tent [of worship] was constructed. In the first part stood the lampstand, the table, and the bread of Presence. This [outer sanctuary] was called the Holy Place. 3 A second curtain [hid the inner] part of the tabernacle, known as the Most Holy Place. 4 This room held the golden censer and the Ark of the Covenant overlaid on all sides with gold. Inside the ark [were kept] the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the ark, the cherubim of glory overshadowed the mercy seat. I cannot go into more detail right now.” (Hebrews 9:1-5).

¶“6When these things were so, the priests would regularly enter the first part of the tent of worship. The priests would do their services [in that outer holy place]. 7 However [those priests would never enter] into the second part [behind the second curtain]. Only the high priest would enter [that Most Holy Place]. He would do this once a year. He would not go in without blood. He offered the blood for his sins, and the people’s sins, committed in ignorance” (Hebrews 9:6-7).

¶“8While this tent of worship stood, the Holy Spirit was showing that the way into the Most Holy Place was not yet clear.9This was symbolic for us in the present time. Those who brought gifts and sacrifices could not make their consciences clear.10[Nor could the laws] about food and drink, various washings, and other fleshly ordinances. These rules were imposed until the time for a new way” (Hebrews 9:8-10).

¶“11Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come. He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle. This greater tabernacle was not made by human hands —it was not of this creation. 12So Christ entered once for all into the holy place. He did not enter by the blood of goats and calves, but rather by his own blood. He thus secured eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:11-12).

Note:— Pot of manna and Aaron’s rod: 1Kings 8:9 and 2Chron 5:10 say that when Solomon was putting the ark of the covenant into the temple, "There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put in at Horeb". It appears that the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod had been lost, the ark having had a rough history

Back in the time of Moses, at the time the Israelites ate manna, a pot of it was placed before the testimony (Exodus 16:32-33). Then at the time Aaron’s rod budded, it was stored before the testimony (Numbers 17:1-11). So the tablets of testimony, the pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod were in the ark, in the holiest place, in the tabernacle, just as the Hebrew writer says. He was talking about the sanctuary of the tabernacle in Moses’s time, not the temple in Solomon’s time.

 

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