by Glen H. Jones
The Tabernacle in the wilderness portrays God's plan of salvation ordained before the foundation of the world. Its components prefigure in type the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is the only earthly building, as far as we know, that was specifically designed by God Himself. After their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, the Israelites were led into the wilderness of Sinai where Jehovah told Moses, "According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, so shall ye make it" (Ex. 25:9, see also Heb. 8:4).
The author notes that almost every feature of the tabernacle typified (prefigured) the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The altar speaks of Christ as the great sacrifice for the sins of all of humanity. The laver stands for the cleansing that a redeemed person has. The showbread typifies Christ who is the bread of life. The lamp stand tells us that Christ is the light of the world. Finally, the most holy place speaks of the absolute holiness of God and His Son.
The walls of the tabernacle were so high that one could not climb over them; one had to enter by the door. This reminds us of the later statement of Jesus, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved" (John 10:9). The outer covering of the tabernacle was unattractive animal skins, which reminds us of Isaiah's description of Messiah: "He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him" (53:2).
The priesthood reminds us that sinful humanity must have a mediator. The New Testament reveals that the one mediator between God and man is the Lord Jesus Christ. Daily animal sacrifices at the door of the tabernacle testify, "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin" (Heb. 9:22).
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