The Tabernacle, which means “tent,” was a temporary place where God lived among His people the Israelites while they journeyed in the desert on their way to the Promised Land. In Exodus 25:8-9 God told 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.” God gave Moses the “blueprint” for the Tabernacle and He left nothing to the imagination of the people; everything that made up the Tabernacle was ordered by God so that they would worship Him according to His will. Even though it was quite heavy, with its many walls, pillars, curtains, a gate, furniture and other parts, it was also very portable which allowed the Israelites to carry it from place to place. You can read of this blueprint and the making of it in Exodus 25:10-40:38.

When one entered the Tabernacle through the gate, there was a large outer court where sacrifices were made on an altar by ordained priests. There was also a bronze laver where the priests purified themselves for the ministry they undertook. The main part of the Tabernacle was divided into two rooms: the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, the latter being where God dwelt. They were separated by a large veil and no one could enter through the veil except the High Priest on the great Day of Atonement as recorded in Leviticus 16.

The writer of the book of Hebrews speaks of the Tabernacle and its main purpose in Hebrews 9:2-9. It reads, “For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place. Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail. Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience” (NASB). What we learn in these verses is that the detailed worship God ordained for His earthly people was a SYMBOL or PICTURE of things to come. The sacrifice offered by the Jewish high priest on the Day of Atonement foreshadowed the supreme sacrifice that Christ would offer on the cross. Their sacrifices were mere animals that did not give men access into God’s presence, nor did they take away their sins and give their conscience rest, but they typified Christ sacrificing Himself and then entering into heaven itself after obtaining eternal redemption for us. We see in verses 11-12: “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (NASB).

Have you, by faith, seen Christ as the One who shed His blood to redeem you and to give you access into God’s presence? If you do believe on Him as Savior, then you can claim God’s promise in Hebrews 10:19-22, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”  (189.6)  (DO)