Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 9
TABERNACLE SET-UP; DESCRIPTION OF MATERIALS:
CHRIST; HIGH PRIESTLY WORK: KADESH-BARNEA
Exodus – Deuteronomy
We hope that you will get your Bible and join in with us today. I’ve said so often, we don’t try to convince you that you’re wrong and we are right. But all we like to do is get people interested in Bible study and to be able to read and understand what The Word really says. People have told me they never watch religious programming on television, but that they just happened to stop and watch ours and have gotten hooked. But always remember that nothing happens accidentally, not when the Lord is in it.
Let’s go to the little Book of Ruth for a moment and look at the word “hap” here in Chapter 2. This word is so appropriate, and it is an interesting little word. Ruth has come back from Moab, with her mother-in-law Naomi. As the story unfolds, she ends up, of course, marrying Boaz. And that puts her in the genealogy of Christ in Matthew Chapter 1. But look what had to happen first:
“And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, `Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace.'” (In other words she didn’t know where she was going.) And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her (And what is that next word?) hap…”
Now it is just “hap” in the King James at least, from which we get our word happen. It just happened. I looked this up a long time ago in my Hebrew dictionary out of the Strong’s. The word means accidentally, something that was not expected. But you see on the other hand, does anything happen accidentally when it is in God’s doing? No. So Ruth, from her point of view, did not just say, “Well, I’ll go and reap in Boaz’s field.” She just at random stopped, but it was her “hap” to land in the very field where she had to be to meet her future husband, which in turn put her in the genealogy of Christ.
Another interesting word just comes to mind. Come all the way back to John’s Gospel Chapter 4. Sometime when I get on a line of thought like this, I just can’t help but chase them down. One of the things that makes the Word so exciting and interesting is when you really get involved in a study of it. All of you have heard sermons on John 4, and here we have Jesus meeting the woman at the well. Now Jesus full well knew what was ahead. Whether it was an hour or eternity. And so as they were heading up to Galilee, instead of circumventing Samaria, as all the good Jews did, Jesus insisted, “This time we go through Samaria.” And as He gets to the well (Jacob’s well), He sends His disciples on into town, so they won’t be around to cause any controversy. After all, they were not supposed to talk to a Samaritan. So Jesus sits down on the well and waits. Now who comes and, as far as she is concerned, meets him accidentally? The woman of Samaria. But it wasn’t accidental. The Lord knew He would meet this lady. So let’s pick it up in Chapter 4:
“And he must needs go through Samaria.”
Then in verse 8, He sends the disciples into the city to buy food, but back in verse 7, while He is waiting at the well, what happens?
“There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her. `Give me to drink.'”
You all know the result of all of that. She recognized Him as the Messiah, and ran into town and shared the news.
Let me share one more, and it too will have that same bearing. Nothing just accidentally happens when God is in the picture. Come back with me to Acts 16. Again it was a divine appointment. There is no doubt about it. Here we find the seller of purple, Lydia, on the European Continent, as Paul has come across from Asia Minor as a result of the Holy Spirit giving him that vision to go over into Macedonia. In verse 13 we find:
“And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: Whose heart the Lord opened,…”
Now isn’t that beautiful? If Paul had not come to that particular riverside park, on that particular Sabbath day, she would have never heard the Word. She accidentally was, from her point of view in the right place, at the right time. But always behind it is the Sovereign God. So when you folks in our television audience say, “I accidentally ran across your program, and I’ve gotten interested in Bible study,” remember it’s not accidental. The Lord is in it from start to finish. Now back to Exodus where we left off last lesson. We have the Tabernacle diagrammed on the board.
Nothing professional; it is just simply hand drawn. I’m always reminded not to make this program professional. A gentleman told me again the other day, “Les don’t you ever change a thing, just keep on doing things the way you are doing them.” Now, before we move on into the Book of Leviticus, please turn to Exodus 40. Remember we are still in the first 12 month period of time, since they left Egypt. They have been gathered around Sinai. In the last lesson we studied how all of these materials used for the Tabernacle had been brought in by the people of Israel. All of this has been put together now by craftsmen. And the Tabernacle is now ready to be erected:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, `On the first day of the first month (it has been a year since they left Egypt.) shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation. And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony, and cover the ark with the vail.'”
And then he instructs all they should do. They have made everything functional. They have set up the tabernacle and all the furnishings are in it. Now let’s come down to verse 33:
“And he reared up the court (that linen wall) round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.”
So the whole tabernacle complex is now complete and it is ready for the institution of their worship:
“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD (Jehovah) filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation,(remember only the priest will be able to do that) because the cloud (the very presence of God, it’s called the Shekinah glory also) abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”
Now remember this is the same cloud that made it’s first appearance way back when the children of Israel were coming out of Goshen, and were encamped on the shores of the Red Sea. That cloud was what protected them from the onslaught of the Egyptians. To the Egyptians it became black darkness. And to the Jews, it became their protection, and at night became the pillar of fire. Now it rests over the Holy of Holies, in which is the Ark of the Covenant. Now verse 36, and this is now looking forward:
“And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:”
This tells you that cloud rested there day and night. But when God intended for the Nation of Israel to pick up and move, they would take down the tabernacle (and remember everything in the tabernacle was made so that it could be moved. They had rings in them where staves could be used to lift.). And then they would move until the cloud stopped. And when the cloud stopped, that is where they would set the tabernacle up, and Israel would encamp. Now remember there was intense organization. This wasn’t a haphazard deal at all. And as I pointed out before, the twelve tribes are all encamped in order around the perimeter of the tabernacle.
“But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”
Get the timing here; get the chronology. This is on the first of April, at the end of just 12 months, coming out of Goshen. Now if you will turn with me to the Book of Numbers Chapter 10. We will skip Leviticus for now, and come back to it in our next lesson. So many people lose sight of time. The first thing we think of is the Tabernacle is set up, the priesthood is set, and the sacrifices have begun. People think they must have sat there a long time, before God decided it was time to move. We are creatures of habit. I know I am, and those of us that are associated with livestock, the first thing we think of is the supply of grass and water. Remember the children of Israel had multitudes of cattle, goats, and sheep. So I guess what I would think of is as soon as the Lord realized that their grass was running out, it would be time to move out to new pastures. So we naturally think it was a long time. Do you know how long it was from the time they set up the Tabernacle the first time until God moved it again.
“And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month,…”
That would be seven weeks. That is not very long is it? In fact I’ll bet those workman almost said, “But LORD, we just got through putting that thing up.” So remember it was from the 1st of April till the 20th of May; then they pick it up and move. Where are they headed? They are headed for the Promised Land. So they will be heading due north in order to be ready to go in and occupy the land of milk and honey. I wanted you to get a picture of that. That the old Tabernacle wouldn’t stand there for very long, till God said “Alright it’s time to move on.” And move they did.
So as we close the Book of Exodus let’s make a quick review of this Tabernacle most people don’t get it all the first time, but a least it will give you an impact of how every detail of this whole Tabernacle is a picture of Christ and His work of the Cross. The last time we started as the Scripture did, with the Ark of the Covenant, and that is because everything from God’s point of view moves from Him out to mankind. But we are going to reverse the order now, and move from outside the outer court and end up then at the Ark of the Covenant. Now this outer fence was constructed of pure white linen. The framework of that fence (I guess we would call it the post and boards and so forth that stabilized it) was made of wood, covered with gold. Then those posts were set in sockets were brass. Now of course the white linen depicted the very righteousness of Christ, and was nine feet tall. And the picture is that the common person could not look in on the things of God. And that is still true.
Here again we must realize that as I pointed out in the last lesson, it is only as we become in-Christ, that we begin to appreciate all of these things. To the outsider it is of no interest. So that white linen fence kept anyone from looking in on these things that were taking place. Remember that fence is 150 feet long. 75 feet wide. That is half the length of a football field. And so as you come around to the east, here was a gate that was 30 feet wide. And that gate was comprised of a curtain, again of fine linen, but not white. This curtain, since it is the gate, and remember, who is the gate? Who is the door to the sheepfold? It’s Christ. So this linen curtain is comprised of the four colors that are shown throughout the Tabernacle. And again, all depict Christ. They are blue, which speaks of His heavenly origin. The purple speaks of His royalty. The red which speaks of His sacrifice. And the pure white, again, speaks of His righteousness and holiness. So this gate at the outer fence was constructed of those four colors. Now as you move in toward the little tent that sits in the middle, the first thing that you come to, of course, is the brazen altar. That brazen altar is constructed again of that desert wood (Acacia), covered with brass. And that is why it is called a brazen altar. Now all through Scripture, brass always speaks of judgment. Remember when Israel was dying from the snake bites? What kind of a serpent did God tell Moses to erect. A brazen serpent, and it judged their sins as they would look at it. The Cross, what was the reality of the work of the Cross? Sin was judged.
And so everything with respect to judgment of sin will be denoted with the metal, brass. So the altar here where the sacrifices were committed was a brazen altar. Wood covered with brass. Now as we move to the next little piece of furniture between the brazen altar and the opening into the little tent, was the laver of cleansing. We referred to that in the last lesson, and after reviewing the lesson in John 13:4-11, I was distraught. If only I could have had two more minutes, I could have made my point in that teaching. But nevertheless, as the priest would come away from the brazen altar, he would have to stop at the laver of cleansing. It was made of brass from the women’s looking glasses, filled with water, and the whole idea was, that as the priest would look at that looking glass, what would he immediately see? His need for cleansing. Then he would wash his hands and feet and so forth at that laver of cleansing. Do you see how all of this speaks of the finished work of Christ?
You know when Jesus was washing the disciples feet in John’s Gospel Chapter 13, and old Peter came along, and said “Thou shalt never wash my feet.” And what did the Lord say,“If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” What was Peter’s answer? “Lord give me a bath” And then the Lord responded by saying “Peter, you and the others (Except Judas) you’ve been washed, you have your salvation. But by the very fact that you are in this sin-filled earth, what is happening in our daily walk? We are being defiled, we are getting our feet dirty. And that was the whole lesson in foot washing. And then we went into Ephesians where Paul speaks of a daily cleansing, not with water, but with the washing and cleansing with The Word. All through Scripture, you still have that apparent need of cleansing even for the believer. We are left here in this old world of defilement.
And so that is the lesson for us today; that although we have been saved and washed, we still need that daily cleansing. We don’t get it by foot washing but by simply saturating ourselves in the The Book. You don’t just get it from one or two hours of worship on Sunday, but the cleansing aspect as well as the feeding aspect of The Word is seven days a week. We don’t just eat once a day or once a week, and you don’t clean up just once a week. We cleanse constantly. And we must approach the spiritual the same way. Just as soon as we recognize a sin or failure, what does God want us to do with it? Confess it. You don’t have to beg forgiveness, you have already been forgiven the Scripture says. But, though we have been forgiven and cleansed, we need confession. The Lord wants us to realize that we have sinned. And we can call it what He calls it. And so consequently it says in I John:
I John 1:9
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
So the priest would then go from the brazen altar. His next stop would be the laver of cleansing, which had the looking glass affect plus the water; so as he saw his physical need for cleansing, he would take care of it by washing his hands and feet. Then he would be ready to go on in to the little tent and accomplish the daily service. The ordinary priest served in rotation. They only went as far as that first room. It was only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, that the High Priest would go any further. But in the daily ministration, the priest would only go as far as the sanctuary.