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Tabernacle of Moses/ Spiritual Lessons for Us

Tabernacle of Moses

The Tent Church of the Wilderness

Spiritual Lessons

By Joyce Webb 2013


God told Moses to make a Tabernacle (Tent Church) for the people of Israel.

They had left Egypt after 400+ years part of them in slavery. They had crossed the Red Sea.

They are in the desert/wilderness a hot dry place of sand and dry some grasses. Once in a while there would be a stream of water and a few trees. But it was mostly desert, mountains dry and hot.

The people were on their way back to the land that God promised to Abraham. They would be going north to Canaan (now days the land of Israel).

At the mountain of Sinai, God gave Moses the 10 Commandments. God also told him to make this tent church called the tabernacle.

This was to be a special place where the animal sacrifices were to be made and where the priests came to acts of worship to God.

It was a place where God Himself His own Presence Spirit would stay.

(God is everywhere all the time but His Presence was going to be in this Tabernacle

in a special strong way. In a special way that the people had not know before.)


God told Moses how to make everything. God told him how big, how to put the things together, what material to use how to shape it. All of these things were made so they could be taken apart and moved as the people traveled across the land.

Before this tent church was made, men sacrificed animals out in the open field and put the animal on a altar made of rocks.

After an animal was killed, the blood of the animal was allowed to flow out. The animal was burned on the altar.

The first sacrifice we read about was Adam’s son’s Abel’s sacrifice of a lamb.

Cain did not bring a sacrifice “of blood” and his sacrifice was not accepted.

Since Abel seemed to know to make a sacrifice of a lamb, it would seem that Cain would also know to do this. Adam would remember that God killed animals in the Garden of Eden to use their skin to cover Adam’s naked body. Because of Adam’s sin,

His naked body needed to be covered.

Adam was naked before and was not ashamed. After he disobeyed he was ashamed of his nakedness. Satan had told him that he would “be as the gods, knowing good and evil”. Adam saw his nakedness as evil he was ashamed. He tried to cover himself with leaves, God was not satisfied with that covering So God killed an animal and used its skin to make a covering for Adam,.

It seems to me that Adam would have understood this killing of the animal to cover his nakedness because of his sin.

We do not know what all God may have said to Adam. We do not know all that Adam understood. The Bible does not say. But I think Adam understood, or the God told him about an animal sacrifice.

So when we read about Cain and Abel’s offerings we have to /guess about what they understood.

I know that some preachers teach that the reason Cain’s offering was not accepted was because he did not come with the right attitude/spirit. They base this on the verse where God says: “If you do well, should not your offering be accepted?”

To me that means, Cain should have brought the right kind of sacrifice.

All through the Old Testament is the idea of a blood sacrifice. The sacrifice of an animal for the person’s sin.

I believe it started with Adam and that he understood the idea. I believe that Cain and Abel knew what the sacrifice should be. Abel was willing to obey. Cain wanted to do what he thought was right in his own eyes. Much like people today, and all through history. People have had this idea that they want do things their way

according to how they think.

God did not accept it. And God does not accept it today. God has made the rules. He has not changed his mind.


All through the Old Testament, men made animal sacrifices for their sin.

Now, God tells Moses to make a special place to offer these sacrifices.


This place was a holy place. It was a place to worship God. It required respect and honor.

Any one could go into the outer court yard.

Only the priests could go into the Holy Place in the tent, and only the High Priest could go into the Most Holy Place one time a year.

If people ignored the rules and did things their own way they died.

God is holy. Being in his presence is a privilege. A person cannot just walk in with a careless attitude without making oneself ready in your own sinful condition you die.

There were things the men had to do and not do before they came into God’s place.

The priests also had special things to do and not do. If all these things were not done they died.

The rules are given in the Book of Exodus and Leviticus. There were many rules. Too many for listing here. I will talk about the main things.


The Courtyard:

The tent church sat inside a “fence”. A big yard area was “fenced” off. This courtyard was 175 feet long and 87 1/2 feet wide.

The “fence” was made of linen curtains/sheets. They were hung on rods, the rods sat on poles, all around the yard. The “fence” was 7 ½ feet high. You could not see into the yard, unless you were on a hillside looking down.

There was only one way to get into the yard. The entrance was at the east end. The curtain that was the “door” was linen, but it was embroidered with designs with threads of purple, blue, and red.



The Spiritual Lesson:

The white “fence” shows this was a clean pure holy place.

There was only one way in. One “door”. Not many ways, just one.

Sinful man thinks he can come to God’s heaven anyway he wants. Sinful man thinks he can do things according to his own ideas and get into God’s presence.

Sinful man thinks there are many ways to God. That any religion, any way of believing is okay. They all end up in heaven with God. Not true.

It is God’s place and he makes the rules. He is holy and no sin can enter in.

God has said there is to be one way to enter in. It was through a blood sacrifice.

As soon as you entered the “doorway” of the fence, immediately in front of you “in your face” stood the brazen or bronze altar. It was big.. You could not miss it. It stood right in the pathway.

The blood sacrifice in Old Testament times was an animal. In the New Testament, Jesus said that his blood was given to remove take away sins. Jesus said that he was the “door”. John 10:9 John 14:6 “No man comes to the Father but by Me.”

The entrance was on the east side. There is prophecy about Jesus coming back to earth. It tells about Jesus coming through the eastern gate.

There is wall around Jerusalem and gates on each side. Many, many years ago the gate on the eastern side was closed up. You see it in all the pictures of the Temple mount that has the golden dome on it in the background you see the closed eastern gate.

When Jesus comes back to earth to rule he will come through that gate.
Ezekiel 44: 1-3, Zechariah 14:4, Acts 1: 10-12, Revelation 21:25



Inside the courtyard:

As soon as you walked through the entrance, you came “face to face” with the altar of bronze where the blood sacrifice was made.

It was big. It was 7 ½ feet long, 7 ½ wide and 4 ½ high. Each corner of the altar had a shape of a horn----like an animal horn. Animal horns stood for power. Men of war and kings put horns on hats, crowns. Like they were as powerful as a bull.

So horns became a symbol of power and authority. So God had the horns put on the altar of bronze to show He has power and authority.

The altar was big enough so that when the priests “packed up” to move all the bowls, tongs, tools, that were used in the sacrifices could be put inside of it.


On this altar parts of the animals were burned. For the main big sin offering the whole animal was burned.

The animal was killed on the north side of the courtyard area. The priest and the man with the offering stood together, The man put his hands on the head of the animal and confessed his sin or those of his family. He was putting his sins on the animal.

The animal now had to bear the sin punishment of death.

The man used a sharp knife to cut the throat of the animal. The blood was allowed to run out and it was collected in a bowl.

The blood of the animal would be carried over to the bronze altar and some of the blood was put on each of the 4 corners of the altar. Each corner had a shape of a horn.

When a “whole burnt offering” for sin was made, the blood was sprinkled against the sides of the altar. The animal was skinned. The legs, and internal organs were washed.

The whole animal was burnt.

As the smoke went up into the sky, it went up to heaven it ascended to God.


The Spiritual Lesson:

As we wish to come into the presence of God the first thing we must face is the altar for our sin. You can not walk through the entrance of the “fence” and walk into the Holy Place. The altar stands in the way. It is wide, it covers the whole way. You must deal with it.

The altar is where the sacrifice for sin is made. In the Old Testament, it was a animal for the person. In the New Testament, it is Jesus for the person. Jesus is called the “Lamb of God” because he was the sacrifice.

Just as the main sin offering was a whole burnt offering so Jesus gave everything.

Just as the whole animal was burnt so Jesus gave everything for us.

As the smoke went up into heaven Jesus went up into heaven.

In the Old Testament.: The man confessed his sin his sin went on the animal the animal died the man was free to live.

In the New Testament: Man confesses his sin to Jesus Jesus takes the sin Jesus died for the sin the man is free to live.


This is why there is no other way to come to God. No one else died for our sin. Without the sacrifice of Jesus we have no sacrifice. We have no way to get rid of our sin. No other “god” died for our sin. No other “god” took our sin upon themselves. God, the Father, has not accepted any other sacrifice only Jesus’.

Without the sacrifice without death there is no removal of sin.

Either we die for our own sin or we accept God’s gift of a sacrifice for us.


In the Old Testament, the animal was killed on the north side. So also, Jesus was killed on the north side of Jerusalem. Calvary was north of Mt. Zion. It was “outside the camp” outside the city. All things unclean were dumped or taken outside the camp so that the camp stayed clean of garbage, etc.

So Jesus having taken all our sin on himself was taken outside the camp in the place where garbage and dirty things were dumped. Hebrews 13: 10-13


The Tabernacle area was opened at 9:00am. The priests came and took care of the lamp stand, etc. at 9:00 in the morning. At 3:00 in the afternoon, things were taken care of to “close up” for the evening.

Jesus was put on the cross at 9:00am and he died at 3:00pm Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:25



The Laver:

After the bronze altar, you came to the laver. It was a very large bowl. Like a very big bird bath. It sat on a stand so it was about waist high. It held gallons of water.

It was a place for the priests to wash.

Sometimes water was needed with the sacrifices to wash some of the parts.

Most of the time the water was used for the priests to wash their hands and feet.

There was a lot of blood! Sacrifices could be made all day long. Sometimes many animals one after the other. Blood was all around the bronze altar. It was all over where the animals were killed.

Before the priest could go into the Holy Place of the church tent he had to wash his hands and feet.

The laver was made of brass. It was polished to a shine. You could see your face in it. It was like a brass mirror.



The Spiritual Lesson:

The bronze altar was where sin was “forgiven”. The sacrifice was given the smoke went up to heaven God accepted the offering and forgave their sin.

This was true for the priests, too. They also had to bring a sacrifice for their own sin.

As the priests helped others their got dirty with blood, animal parts, water and dirt make mud all of this would be on the hands and feet of the priest. His clothes probably got blood on them, too. But those he would wash at home.

The washing of the hands and feet were like a symbol. The priest probably needed a whole bath----it was bloody work. He would take a bath at home.

The priest who was to take care of the lamp stand and the incense had to go into the tent/church. But before he could go in, he had to wash off all the dirt, and blood from his hands and feet.

I am not sure about how the work was organized. It could be that the priests who helped with the sacrifices, did not take care of the lamp stand or incense that day. Perhaps that job was given to another priest that day.

However, the priests going into the Holy Place still had to wash his hands and feet before going in.

This was a symbol it was like our “everyday” cleansing from sin. We have asked for forgiveness of our sin. We believe and trust in Jesus. We have given our lives to Him and we try to walk obeying Him. But sometimes we still sin and do wrong so we come to Jesus and ask for forgiveness.

We do not have to be “saved” again. But we need to keep ourselves clean before God.

We need an everyday cleaning.

You take a bath once a day. But you wash your hands many times in a day. You do not take a bath every time you need to wash your hands. (This example may not be a perfect one, but I’m trying to help you understand.)

It is never right for a Christian to willfully sin. Sometimes we do and we need to be forgiven. Sometimes we sin but we did not intend to. Sometimes we are selfish, and have pride just because we are human and we need forgiveness.

So the priests had offered their own sacrifice for sins. They were “clean”. But as they went about the day’s work they got dirty. So they needed to wash before going into God’s Holy Place.

So with us, we have been “saved” But as we go along in our living we need to be forgiven for things. We need to keep ourselves washed and clean spiritually.

The laver was like a mirror. The priest could look into it and see how he looked.

He could see the dirt.

The Bible God’s word is like a mirror to us, In it we see our dirt and how we need to walk before God. James 1:25



The Tent/Church:

The tent church had three walls one end was a curtain.

The 2 side walls and one end wall were made of wood boards covered with gold. They were held in place by a rod going through rings.

They could be taken apart when it came time to move.

The ceiling curtain was a wide curtain spread over the top and down the sides.

And the front end of the “box” church at the entrance to the church was a curtain.

The first curtain over the “box” of the church was a linen curtain. It was embroidered with threads of purple, blue, and red. It had a design we do not know how that was.

We do know that part of the design had the shapes of cherubim. They were a kind of angel.

So when the priests were in the Holy Place and looked up to the ceiling they saw this curtain with its beautiful colors and designs of the cherubim.

Over this beautiful designed cloth was a plain white linen curtain. It was a little longer in front and hung down in front of the entrance curtain to the church. It also hung down on each side of the walls.

Over the white curtain, was a red curtain. It was heavier. It was made of goats skins. It was dyed red.

Over this red curtain, was a dark curtain heavy made of animal skins. It was not very pretty. It purpose was to protect all under it. It kept out the rain, the wind and sand, etc.

The entrance curtain to this “box” church, was linen embroidered with designs using threads of purple, blue and red. (No angels on this one.)

Inside the Holy Place it was divided into two rooms. The larger room was called the Holy Place and the smaller room was called the Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies.

To separate the two rooms there was a curtain linen embroidered with thread of purple, blue and red with cherubim design.



The Spiritual Lesson:

When a person looked at the Tabernacle church it was not very pretty. It was dull and not interesting. It would not attract you to “pull” you in to look around.

Many people look at the Bible, God, Jesus, and they are not interested. There is nothing there to “pull” them in to make them want anything about it. It is not shiny, beautiful, rich looking, etc. It looks dull and not interesting.

But inside the Tabernacle was most beautiful. Gold, beautiful colors, designs, angels!

If you stay on the outside you will never know. Only if you enter in will you see the beauty inside!

The dark cover could also represent sin. Sin is dark. Sin makes darkness in our lives. Paul talks about the sinner being in spiritual darkness. Jesus said Our sin will separate us from God and we will be thrown into darkness and pain gnashing of teeth.

Under the dark covering, was the red one. It stood for the blood. The blood took away the sin. It took away the darkness.

Under the red covering, was the white one. The blood made clean. The Bible speaks of God’s forgiveness making us white as snow. Psa. 51:7 Isaiah 1:18

This white cover hung down below the others in the front of the church. When you looked at the entrance curtain you saw the white curtain hanging down a little at the top.

It reminded them their sin was washed white. It was there for all to see. The other covers were hidden by the dark one, but one edge of the white one hung down to remind them they were forgiven.

Satan would like to remind us of our sin. But God reminds us We are forgiven.

Under the white curtain, was the beautiful embroidered one with the colors and angels.

It stands for all the glory and beauty of heaven.

Only those under the white curtain only those who have gone through the blood only those who have been forgiven get to see the heaven that God has prepared.

Within it is a beautiful glorious place.

God’s very own presence was in that place. His very own presence stayed above the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant.

We get to share in His beauty, glory, and be in His very own presence now and forever.



The Furniture Inside the Tent/Church:

In the larger room were 3 pieces of furniture. The Table of Shewbread was on the north side. The Lampstand was on the south side. The Altar of Incense was on the west side just in front of the curtain that separated the two rooms.

In the smaller room, was the Ark of the Covenant.


The Table of Shewbread was a low table, narrow, that held 12 flat loaves of bread.

This bread was not made of yeast. In the Bible, yeast was a symbol of sin.

The people may have used yeast in their bread for everyday things. But for the holy things, yeast was not used.

Yeast is a symbol of sin because it spreads and a little yeast goes through the whole lump of dough and the whole thing rises.

So with sin even a small sin spreads influences affects others soon your whole life is a mess soon others join your sin or your sin hurts others.

The loaves were brought in fresh every Sabbath (Saturday).

Every Friday afternoon/evening the loaves were eaten by the priests in a holy place.


The Spiritual Lesson:

The bread was a symbol of God providing for us our daily bread. It also stood for communion and fellowship with God. When we “break bread” with someone, we share a meal and talk and visit. God wants our fellowship and friendship. He wants us to talk to Him and He wants to talk to us.

He provides for us what we need. He give us our daily bread.

The bread was to be made new every week. We might think week old bread was not good. But remember, this bread did not have yeast in it. It seems that God kept this bread good until the priests ate it.

The symbol is new fresh bread was needed. We also need new fresh spiritual bread from time to time. We need to listen to preachers, study books about the Bible or God,

talk with others, in different ways we need to get fresh spiritual bread.

Reading the Bible everyday is a way to get fresh bread. There is always something new we see in the scriptures a new way of understanding another truth we missed before.

Jesus said: “I am the Bread of Life, he that comes to me will never hunger” John 6:35

Jesus was speaking of the spirit our spirits will be satisfied and full.

We have the example of God providing for his people in giving them bread to eat.

We trust God to help us have the food we need to eat every day.

Jesus being the “Bread of Life” has a spiritual meaning.



The Lampstand

The Lamp stand held oil for burning like we would have candles in a stand. They did not have candles. They used a bowl of oil and put a wick (rope, string) to burn. One end of the wick was in the oil soaking it up the other end had the flame.


The Lamp stand had 3 branches on each side of a main stem. So there were 7 places for bowls of oil one on the top of each branch. The bowls on the end of each branch held oil and a wick. These bowls were made in the shape of a flower.

The whole thing was made of pure gold. It was hammered into its shape. It was one piece-----shaped into branches. There were no rules for how big it was to be.

Each morning, a priest would add more oil to the bowls trim the wicks add new ones, etc. And each evening, the same thing.

The flames/light was never to go out. It was to burn continually.

When they were on the move coals of fire from the bronze altar was saved to be used to light both altars and the lamp stand again.

The purpose of the Lamp stand was to give light into the room. The walls were covered

with gold so the light from the flames reflected off the walls to help make it more bright.


The Spiritual Lesson:

The light/fire came from the bronze altar of sacrifice. Jesus was the sacrifice. Jesus also said that he was the Light of the World. John 8:12

He also said that we are the light of the world Matthew 5:16

The reason we are the “light” is because we have Jesus’ Light in us. As we walk and live others see how we live, speak, act, and we are a testimony of Jesus’ light.

We are not to hide our light but to show and tell others what we believe.

Only the fire from the bronze altar was to be used to start the lamp stand after they moved same was true for the Altar of Incense.

Our spiritual “light” is to come from Jesus/God. Not just any religion or belief.

Jesus said that He was the light. Because Jesus is the Life, the Way, and the Truth. John 14:6 and no man can come to the Father except by Jesus

The book of Revelation tells us that when Jesus comes to be king on earth He will be the Light we will not need the sun because the glory presence/spirit of God will light up everything. Rev. 21:23

Psa. 119:105 Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

The oil in the lamp stand is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. John 16:13 says the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.


Luke 4: 18 Jesus was reading from the book of Isaiah 61:1 where Isaiah said that “the Spirit of the Lord was upon him because He has anointed me to preach.”

Then in Luke 4:21 Jesus said This day this has been fulfilled in your ears (in your hearing.”

When men were to be a king, or a man to become a priest he was anointed with oil.

Oil was poured on his head. After that time, the spirit of the Lord rested on that person to help him------that person was to be used by God in God’s holy work.

Sometimes a person who was anointed did not obey God and walk with God. Then God could not use that person in the way God wanted. God’s Spirit will not stay with a person who keeps on sinning.

The “anointing” was to mean a special giving of the Holy Spirit upon that person.

The “anointing” of the furniture of the Tabernacle showed that it was to be holy and used for the Lord.

When a person is “anointed” it means he is to be holy and used by the Lord.

When the Holy Spirit came upon the people waiting in the upper room after Jesus went to heaven a sign of the Spirit was a rushing wind and little flames of fire over their heads. Acts 2: 3

When a person preaches and his words are “anointed” it means that the Holy Spirit was powerful as the man talked. The Spirit helped him preach so that the words went deep into the hearts and minds of the people.

New oil had to added to the lamp each morning and evening or it would run out.

As people we need to have the Holy Spirit fill us new each day so we are fresh and strong and bright in our walk with God.

How many Christians do you know that their light is almost gone out? They a re a weak light.

We get tired we sin our human selves are selfish and proud we need wisdom we need new oil of the Holy Spirit everyday so we keep a strong bright light.


The Lamp stand was made of hammered gold. This is a symbol of Jesus’ suffering.

He was beaten before he died on the cross.



The Altar of Incense:

This was made of wood covered with gold. It was about waist high. The top 4 corners had “horns” like the bronze altar. There was a special bowl in the center that was to hold the incense as it burned.

A special incense was to be used. There was a special recipe to make it. This special incense mixture was to be used only on the altar of incense. It was not to be used for any other reason. Anyone who used it for anything else would die.

Nothing else was to be burned on this altar only the incense.

The priest was to take coals of fire from the bronze altar and put the coals in the special bowl and pour over the special incense. The hot coals would burn the incense and the smell of the spices would rise up in the air up to God.

The priest was to do this every morning and every evening. The incense was never to go out. It was to always be kept burning.


There was a happening when two of Aaron’s sons decided to do things their own way. They took coals of fire and put them into their censer pots/burners and sprinkled incense over it in the pot. God made fire shoot out of the burners and it burned them up. Leviticus 10:1-3 God called what they made “strange fire”.


God told them how they were to do things. And God warned them that if they did not do it that way they would die.

God means what He says.

Our problem as people starting with Adam and Eve we do not believe God means what he says.


God was not “being mean” to those men. They had the directions and the warning. All they needed to do was obey.


That is the hardest part for man we do not want to obey. We want to do what we think. We want to be the boss. We want to be in charge.

The truth is God is in charge. We can throw ourselves against God’s rules all we want but it will not change God’s rules. He is God.

We would do best if we come under his authority and do what he says. Otherwise we will just break ourselves.


Leviticus 10:10 says: You are to make a difference between what is holy and what is ordinary.

That is a verse we need to read for today! More and more people in America have no respect for things that are holy.

There are many things that modern Americans have lost respect and honor. How do people dress when they go to church now? How do the preachers dress?

How do people dress when they go to weddings, funerals, Christmas programs at school or church?

Do they show that they honor this place as holy?

How do they behave and act in the church building? What kind of things happen in the church building?

We have lost the feeling of respect and honor for church and the things of God for special ceremonies for leaders. We live “casual” another word for that is careless---we do not care.

God has never changed his mind about things that are holy. We need to show proper respect and honor.


There was one special promise that was said about this altar------God said, I will meet you there. Exodus 30:6

The Altar of Incense stood in front of the curtain that divided the room. On the other side of the curtain, is the Ark of the Covenant where the presence of God stays.

When the priest was at the Altar of Incense of praise and prayer he was so close to God’s presence.



The Spiritual Lesson:

We are close to God’s presence too when we are in praise and prayer.

God will meet the priests there at the place where praise and prayers go up.

That is a promise for us, too. Jesus will meet us in the place of praise and prayer.

That place can be anywhere. In the New Testament, our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit not a certain building. I Corinthians 3:16

Psalms 141: 2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks in his name.

Revelation 5: 8 the vials of odors which are the prayers of saints in other words

The vases or bowls of smelling fragrance which are the prayers of the believers

Revelation 8: 3, 4 Another angel, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended (went up) before God out of the angel’s hand.


We see from these verses that the praise and prayers of believers are like the incense that rises up to God.

Just as the incense was never to stop burning so should our praise and prayers continue always without stopping to go before God. All day our thoughts can go to God in praise giving thanks and prayer.

Notice in the verses from Revelation that there is a golden altar in heaven where incense is offered. There is also an ark. Revelation 11:19 Then in heaven, in the Temple of God was opened and the Ark of the Covenant (Ark of his testament) could be seen inside the Temple.

Could it be that there is a Tabernacle/Temple in heaven that is like the one God told Moses to make for earth?




The Ark of the Covenant


This “box” was the most important thing in the Tabernacle. It was important for one reason-----God promised that his own presence and spirit would stay between the cherubim.

The ark was a box made of wood covered with gold. It had a special lid made of pure gold. The lid had a name The Mercy Seat.

Two cherubim (special kind of angels) of gold facing each other with their wing tops touching each other. Under the wings between the cherubim God’s presence and spirit would stay.

Inside the box was put the 10 Commandments a bowl of manna and Aaron’s rod

(walking stick).

The 10 Commandments were God’s laws. They were to show God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. If man wanted to please God he needed to obey what the commandments said.

The Commandments stood for the judgment of God.


The manna was the food God provided for the people while they walked the desert. It was a little white round like a tiny cookie or a large seed. It came down every morning and was on the ground. It was their main food all the time they were traveling.

It stood for God be willing to give the people what they needed to live. Every day he gave them food from heaven.

The rod (walking stick) of Aaron was there because of something that happened with the people.

A rod was used by a man watching sheep. It could be used for walking up and down mountains. It was often used to keep the sheep in line by a tap of their backside.

It was for correction. It was for discipline.

Sometimes a rod was used to discipline children. Proverbs 13:24

The rod was a symbol of authority.

Numbers 17 There were 2 men who were of the tribe to be helpers in the Tabernacle were angry because they were not chosen to be priests. Moses told them that it was God who did the choosing and made the rules. Moses was just telling them what God said.

The men did not accept what Moses said. They were going to go to the Tabernacle and do the things the priests did anyway.

God told Moses to have the 2 men stand in front of their tents. Moses told all the people to get far away from these men because God was going to punish them.

God made the ground to open up and the men and their families fell into the hole and the dirt fell in on top of them.

Then God burned up 250 men who had burned incense when they were not to do it.

Many of the people were angry about those people being killed. They blamed Moses. Moses went to God.

God’s anger killed 14,700 people for being angry with Moses. Moses sent Aaron out

to make atonement for the people. God listened to their prayers and stopped killing the people.

Then God told the people that He would show them that he had called Moses and Aaron to be the leaders.

All of the men who were leaders in Israel were to bring a rod to Moses. Moses carved their names into the wood of the rod. The rod that grew buds of leaves would be chosen of God to be the leader.

We know that a stick does not grow leaves so it would be the hand of God that made it happen.

He put all the rods in the Tabernacle before the Lord. The next morning Moses looked at the rods. Only one rod grew leaves. It even had flowers and almonds (nuts) on it! It was Aaron’s rod.

God was showing the people that he had chosen Aaron to be the High Priest and no one else.

God gave Aaron the responsibility and authority to be the priest.

Being a priest or preacher is a big responsibility before God. God holds them responsible for many things. They have authority, yes, but they have responsibility, too.

So Aaron’s rod was put into the Ark of the Covenant box to show the authority of God.


The 10 Commandments: law, rules justice of God

The manna the provision of God

The rod the authority of God


These things were there in the box under the lid called Mercy.

God’s mercy is on top. God’s mercy covers the others. God’s mercy is where is own presence and spirits stays.


The people of Israel had just come out of Egypt. For more than 400 years they have lived there The land of Egypt was a land where people worshipped many idols. They worshipped the king/Pharaoh.

The people should have remembered what they had been taught about God. It was the fathers responsibility to teach their own families. But we know from our own families how people get away from believing in God and get away from obeying Him.

As the years went by, they forgot a lot about God.

Now are the many thousands of Hebrew people in the desert. They need to learn who God in heaven is. They need to see his power. They need to see he means what he says. They need to see that God can and will do what he says.

They needed these hard lessons to see who God was. That he was holy. He was powerful. He was true.

He also took care of them. He showed mercy especially he answered the prayers of Moses. The people saw this.

They were learning to believe God. They were learning to obey him.

No one could look at the Ark of the Covenant except Aaron and his sons. When it was time to move camp Aaron and his sons went in to cover the Ark (and other furniture) with special cloth and coverings. Numbers chp. 4

After the Ark was covered the other priests a certain group of priests came in and moved the Ark.

They could not touch it. There were long poles that fit into rings on the sides of the furniture to carry it. The priests only needed to touch the poles to carry it.

The Altar of Incense, the Table of Shewbread, and the Bronze Altar all had long poles to carry them.

That is how they were to be moved by the poles.



The Ark of the Covenant was most precious and valuable to the Hebrew people because of the Presence of God staying, living, abiding on it.


The Ark sat in its own room. Behind the curtain in the Holy Place. This little room was called the Most Holy Place or the Holy of Holies.

The only person who could go in there, was the High Priest once a year. He took in the blood from the sin offering for the people and sprinkle it on the Mercy Seat.




The High Priest:

The first High Priest was Moses’ brother Aaron.

The High Priest had special clothing. It was only wore for the Tabernacle. Exodus 30:1 “To do service in the Holy Place.” “holy garments (clothing) for Aaron”

Leviticus 16 Before Aaron could come before God in His Presence he had to make a sacrifice for his sins and he had to wear the special clothing for his “job” “position”.

He had to wear special linen underwear like “boxer” shorts. Linen was cool. It soaked up sweat and moisture. It was washable.

He had a long tunic (shirt) that went to his feet. It was white linen.

Over that he had an “ephod” a shorter tunic. It was blue. It was embroidered with threads of red, purple, blue, and gold. Pomegranates (fruit) were made of blue, purple, and red yarn, and gold bells were sewn around the hem of the ephod tunic.

There was also an embroidered sash. (belt) There were braids of gold.

The gold bells would make a noise as the High Priest moved. This sound was a comfort to the people especially one time a year. On the Day of Atonement, a special sacrifice was made for all the people’s sin. It was a day for all the people to be fasting and praying and repenting and thinking about their sin and asking God to forgive them.

After the High Priest made the sacrifice of a bull and then of a goat he was to take some of the blood of each into the Most Holy Place and put some of it on the Mercy Seat of the Ark and in front of it. If God accepted the offering all was good the High Priest came back out of the Holy Place. If God did not accept the offering, he would die.

The High Priest was in the Presence of a Most Holy God. The High Priest was a sinful man representing sinful people. The sin offering of blood was to be the “covering” for the sin. If God did not accept the offering there would have been no “covering” for the High Priest’s sin. He would have died.

Knowing this, the High Priest were careful to do everything with the sacrifices and blood just the way God said so that they would be accepted and forgiven.

No other priests was allowed in the Tent church while the High Priest was in there.

So from outside they would listen for the sound of the bells hoping all was well and God accepted their offering and forgave their sin.


Over the ephod tunic he wore a chest plate. It had straps for over his shoulders and it hung down in back and in front. On the shoulder straps on the top were two big onyx

Stones. Six tribes names were on one, and the other six tribes names on the other stone.

The chest plate in front held 12 stones each one with the name of a tribe carved in it.

There were carnelian, chrysolite, emerald, turquoise, sapphire, white moonstone, jacinth, agate, and amethyst.

He wore a “hat” a turban. White linen with a gold round piece on the front of the turban. It said: “Holiness unto the Lord”. Some translations say: Set apart unto the Lord.

I have to add this note: This special clothing was made for the priests for this reason:

“to give them dignity and respect” Exodus 28:40

In this modern day of preachers wearing “work’ clothes for preaching of jeans and a plaid shirt -------this verse should say something to them.

We should give our best to God----That should include dressing with dignity and honor for the Lord’s house. Most people have “dress up” clothes. If you have them honor God’s house and God by wearing them.

The “casual” “careless” attitude of appearing in God’s house “any old way” shows an attitude of the heart that has less respect and honor for God’s house and presence.

Truly, God looks on the heart, but remember the verse Leviticus 10:10 You are to make a difference between what is holy and what is ordinary.



The Spiritual Lesson:

The High Priest represents Christ as our High Priest.

He “goes between us and God”.

Because of our sin, we cannot come into God’s holy presence. Christ comes between us and God the Father. Christ says to God my death has paid their death penalty.

My blood has covered their sin. Because of Jesus Christ God the Father accepts us.

We are never accepted on our own. We must have Jesus go between us and God the Father. There is no acceptance by ourselves.

We have “death” over us because of our sin. The “death” penalty has to be paid.

Either we pay it ourselves or Jesus pays it for us. Jesus is the only one who died for us and He is the only One God the Father will accept because he was the “perfect” lamb.

In the Old Testament, The High Priest was as “Jesus Christ”. He stood between the people and God.

The High Priest carried over his heart the names of the people. He wore on his head the approval of God to stand in their place as a “go between”.


No one was allowed to go into the Most Holy Place except the High Priest. And he went into it only one time a year with much carefulness with a blood offering.

When Jesus died on the cross at the very time Jesus gave up his spirit in the temple across town the curtain that was across the Most Holy Place ripped open from top to bottom and it stood open you could see into the Most Holy Place.

History tells us that this curtain was about 4 inches thick. It was woven with heavy yarns. It was said that two ox teams each team pulling one on each end of the curtain could not have pulled the curtain apart. And yet all by itself no one touched it the curtain ripped apart and stood open the moment Jesus died. Matthew 27:51

Mark 15:38 Luke 23:45

God opened the curtain. It stood open all could see in and go in.

Hebrews 10: 18,19 “there is no more offering for sin, we have boldness (no fear) to enter into the most holy by the blood of Jesus.”

Jesus’ blood took care of the sin sacrifice there is no more need for a sacrifice. Jesus was the perfect man. The perfect “lamb”. Because Jesus was a man he could did for man. Because he was “perfect” he met the requirement God had for a sacrifice.

Jesus died in our place. God accepted what Jesus did and because of Jesus he forgives us.

When we have Jesus’ blood covering our sin we can walk into the Most Holy Place of God’s Presence without fear. The Most Holy Presence of God is open to all who come in through Jesus.

This is why we do not believe we did to go through a priest or a saint to speak to God or to ask for forgiveness. We can come ourselves it is open for all only through Jesus.

The book of Hebrews talks much about how Jesus’ death changed the way we come to God. We do not need the Old Testament sacrifices any more.

Those things were a “picture” for those people looking toward the time when Jesus would be the perfect complete sacrifice and no other would be needed.

Back in the Garden of Eden, God promised that God would crush Satan’s head Satan would bruise (hurt a little) the heel of the “seed of the woman”. The seed of the woman was Jesus. Jesus was of a woman but not a man. Genesis 3:15

Usually in the Bible children were talked of being from the man, the fathers. But in Genesis God said the “seed of the woman”. Mary was a virgin. God made the baby grow in her. God was the father.

This is “hard to understand” that Jesus was both God and man. He called himself both the Son of Man and the Son of God.

He was fully man. He had to choose to obey God. He had to choose to let the Holy Spirit lead him. He could have chosen not to obey God. We learned that when we read about when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. And when he was facing the cross, as he prayed in the garden he chose to do God’s will.

Jesus was God. We know that because of all the miracles he did. And that he said he had “life” of himself. He had the power to lay it down and take it up.

John 10:17,18 John 5:26

Regular people can sometimes do miracles through the power the Holy Spirit does through them. But regular people do not have the power of life in themselves.

The Regular Priests:

The regular priests wore white linen tunics and underwear. They had white turbans---plain.


Only the tribe of Levi could be priests or church helpers. Only one group of the Levi tribe could be priests the others helped with setting up the Tabernacle or taking it down, moving it, or other jobs around the tabernacle.


The High Priests were from Aaron’s family his sons it was passed down in the family.




From the book of Revelation we see that there is furniture of the Tabernacle

In heaven.

The Tabernacle of Moses in the desert was a copy of the one in heaven.

The purpose of the Tabernacle was to have a place to “meet God” where his own Presence dwelt (lived, stayed) over the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant.

And it was a place where the people came to offer their sacrifices to God for their sin.

All of the things in the Tabernacle had spiritual lessons for them. It helped the people understand about God.

They understood more about how holy He was. They understood more about their sin and how it separated them from God. And how they needed a someone to pay their “death” penalty.

All of this was to make the people aware of God and His Presence with them.

All that happened in the Tabernacle was a picture of what was coming in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

The shape of the placement of the furniture in the Courtyard and Holy Place was in the shape of the cross.


A cloud stayed above the Tabernacle in the daytime. At night a cloud of fire stayed above the Tabernacle it stayed above the area of the Most Holy Place where God’s Presence was.

“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13;21. 22 Numbers 9:5-23


This pillar of cloud also protected them at times: Exodus 14: 20,21,24

When the people looked toward the Tabernacle area They saw the cloud above it. It was a symbol of God’s Presence.


When the cloud began to move The people packed up everything and moved and followed the cloud.

The Holy Spirit leads us. Are we careful to feel the Holy Spirit leading us? Are we giving attention to Him so we can move where He is leading us? When He begins to move do we move with Him?

Along with the Tabernacle were “feasts” special times of ceremony and celebration or times of praying and repenting. These “feasts” had special spiritual meanings. Jesus’ life and the things that happened to him follow the order of the “feasts”. This is an interesting study.



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