The Berean Expositor
Volume 17 - Page 25b of 144
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Fundamentals of Dispensational Truth.
No. 61.

The tabernacle, its fabric and foundations (Exod. 26)

While the typical teaching of the ark and the mercy-seat are at the very foundation of access to God, and while the table of shewbread and the lampstand speak so much of service, these are really subsidiary to the purpose expressed in Exod. 25:8 "Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them." The actual tabernacle is described in Exod. 26, and while the whole structure with its boards and coverings may be spoken of as the tabernacle, this title is used in a more limited sense of the innermost set of beautiful curtains described in Exod. 26:1-6

"Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet; with cherubim of cunning work shalt thou make them . . . . . it shall be one tabernacle."

Tabernacle, tent, covering.

While it is not easy to distinguish between tabernacle and tent in the A.V., there is no confusion in the original. We find upon examining the Scripture that over the "tabernacle" was spread a "tent," and that over this tent was placed a two-fold covering. The tent was made of goats' hair, and is described in verses 7-14 (once called "covering"), the twofold covering of the tent being made of rams' skins dyed red, and of badgers' skins. We must therefore distinguish between the tabernacle proper, made of the glorious linen curtains, and the goats' hair tent and covering of skins, as we find them distinguished for instance in Exod. 35:11 "the tabernacle, his tent, and his covering"; also by comparing the record of Exod. 26:6 and 11 together.

"And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold, and couple the curtains together with the taches: and it shall be one tabernacle."

"And thou shalt make fifty taches of brass and put the taches into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one."

In order that we may appreciate these three features we will set out the meaning of each word.

  • TABERNACLE.- Mishkan, from shakan = to dwell. Exod. 25:8; Gen. 9:27 and Gen. 3:24, "placed."
  • TENT. - Ohel occurs frequently. Gen. 4:20; Exod. 33:10.
  • COVERING.- Mikseh, from kasha = to cover, as in Exod. 40:34; Isa. 11:9.

We have here three features that must be taken into account in any attempt to discover the typical teaching of the tabernacle.

  1. The tabernacle was essentially a dwelling place for God,
  2. The pilgrim character of the children of God necessitated a tent and not a temple.
  3. The beauty of this dwelling was not seen from the outside, but was veiled or covered. This covering was also a protection, for the word is first used in Gen. 8:13, where we read that "Noah removed the covering of the ark."

The pilgrim nature of the tabernacle is witnessed by 2 Sam. 7:2 and 6

"See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains."

"I have not dwelt in any house since the time I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle."

Seeing that every detail of the tabernacle was made according to the pattern of heavenly things, we must not consider it too fanciful to see significance in the colours and materials that are so carefully specified.

Fine linen. - Of this material was made not only the tabernacle itself, but the hangings for the court, the ephod of the high priest, the girdle, the breastplate, the coat and the mitre. "The fine linen is the righteousness of saints," or as ton hagion might mean, "the righteousness of the holiest of all." It can truly be said that righteousness was the warp and woof of the dwelling place of God. It is a lesson that bears repetition, lest at any time we should be inclined to entertain doctrines that necessitate the lowering of this high standard.


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