The Tabernacle, Patterns of Three, and Yeshua’s Comments

Tabernacle

(photo credit)

The Bible provides deep and fascinating insight on the details of a Christian’s walk with God after salvation in Yeshua.  The father is faithful to show his children how to serve and love Him more obediently.  These concepts in the Bible can be connected through examining patterns of three.  We will be looking at these patterns of three in both the Old Testament (Tenach) and New Testament ( Brit Chadashah) and linking them to the three divisions in the Tabernacle.  The divine pattern found in the tabernacle can be given fuller meaning in Hebrews 8 as we see God’s fulfillment of his tabernacle in our communion with Yeshua.

The Tabernacle

So let’s get into the discussion of the tabernacle.  The tabernacle was commanded by God to be constructed in a very particular fashion (Exodus 25-27).  There are three sections to the tabernacle.

1.  The Courtyard – This is the first section that you would be at upon reaching the gate of the tabernacle.  Just being at the tabernacle itself meant that you were at the place to meet God Himself.  In the courtyard there were two objects that required actions by the priests before the priest could enter the holy place.  These objects were:

  •  A.  Bronze Lavar – This is where the priests were required to wash their hands and feet, before moving closer to God.  This act of cleansing is necessary to get closer to the Holy and Righteous God.  Likewise, as priests in His kingdom (book of Hebrews), we need to clean-up our bodies and thought life.  Repentance is critical and is marked by turning 180 degrees from the original direction.  The Biblical act of repentance (Hebrew = “tishuva”) is more than just asking for forgiveness.  Repentance is an act of washing and involves action, not just mere thought.
  •  B.  Bronze Altar – The altar is where sacrifices were made.  The priests sacrificed animals without defect to the one true God.  There were certain rules for how sacrifices were to be conducted.  If these rules were not followed, God was not pleased and there were consequences.  Likewise, as priests according to the book of Hebrews, we need to understand God’s rules (His Torah) and sacrifice to Him out of what He has given us.  We do this by providing our best offering – a perfect offering – to please our father.  Basically, we need to strive to keep His perfect Torah.  This is sacrificing the perfect animal.  Certainly, Yeshua has died to pay the penalty for sin, but following Torah has blessings associated with it that were not done away with.  As children of God, we want to be obedient to our Father and his loving instructions.  As a good Father, God rewards his children’s obedience with blessings.

So why are the lavar and altar made of bronze?  Bronze is a symbol of judgment in the Bible – judgment can either bring blessings or curses.  Blessing with judgment is shown in Numbers 21 through a bronze serpent attached to a pole.  Those who look at this serpent are healed and gain life instead of death.  This is also a play on Hebrew words in that the word for serpent is “nachash” in Hebrew and bronze is “nachashet” which is formed by adding a tav or cross to the end of “nachash.”  The Hebrew word picture for bronze equates to nailing a serpent to the cross or effectively, judgment.  The book “In His Own Words” by Grant Luton provides a fuller explanation.  Bronze itself is a warning to us that we will be judged by our obedience to what our Holy God has laid out before us.

This is not about salvation!  I believe those that are at the outer courtyard are still saved in Yeshua.  They are at the right location, the tabernacle of God.  However, if there is not adequate washing or sacrificing in our life, we will be like little children in the presence of God and will not mature spiritually.

 2.  The Holy Place – This is the section of the tabernacle that could be entered from the courtyard upon proper washing and sacrificing.  The Holy Place is a location of deeper communion with God.  One is closer to His presence in the Holy Place than in the courtyard.  The objects in the Holy Place are:

  •  A.  Golden Lampstand, or Menorah - Please read the article “Torah Menorah” for a fuller description of the Menorah.  The Menorah is a symbol of truth and the lights from the Menorah were meant to shine and be seen even outside of the Tabernacle.  God’s light, Yeshua, needs to be shined in truth to attract those from outside.  If we have entered the Holy Place, we need to be continually reflecting His light of truth.
  •  B.  Table of Showbread - The Table of Showbread is a symbol of sustenance.  Fresh loaves of bread were placed on the table every Sabbath.  Yeshua said “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35) and is from “Beit-Lechem” (Bethlehem) or House of Bread.  Are we being sustained by a Holy God day in and day out?
  •  C.  The Alter of Incense is where prayers were offered up to the throne of God (Revelation 5).  To be in deep communion with Him, we need to have a prayer life that is alive.  The incense of our life should be pleasing to Him and draw others in to the House of God, just like the light of God that is reflected.

Once again, those people communing with God in the Holy Place have already achieved salvation.  They are learning to love God in fullness.  They have separated the tradition out from the truth and have discarded any tradition that is not in-line with the Bible.  This is done by sacrificing our traditions on the alter and cleansing ourselves with God’s truth in the lavar.  They seek righteousness and don’t care if they stand-out in the crowd for it.  They desire to carry-out His Word and don’t get caught-up in false doctrine, but test everything.  They know and are obedient to His Word.  They are also not greedy after the things of this world, but rely on Him for sustenance.  The also offer up prayers regarding the things of God and are continually washing and repenting.

3.  The Holy of Holies– The innermost part of the tabernacle is called the Holy of Holies.  This is where God Himself dwells.  The high priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies once a year to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant, which was inside.  Others who tried to enter were burned because God is an all-consuming fire.  However, it is important to note that those who dwell with Him at a deep level are protected by God’s fire (high priest, also see Daniel 3).  The Ark of the Covenant contained three objects which were also indicative of the sections of the tabernacle.

  • A.  Stone Tablets- signify the Torah or God’s instructions.  These correlate to the outer courtyard.  They are a physical sign for those who are entering God’s territory or courtyard.
  • B.  Manna- signifies the sustenance that God provided His children during the exodus (Exodus 16).  This relates to the daily nourishment of the Holy Place.
  • C.  Budded Rod- signifies the life and miracles possible when we commune with Him in the Holy of Holies.  Miracles were evident in Yeshua’s time and would be more prevalent today if there were more people who communed in the Holy of Holies.  Miracles were performed by those that have a Holy of Holies relationship with God.  You can see how this plays out in evangelism by the Apostles through equating Matthew 28 with Mark 16.  Unfortunately, I think a lot of times we are in the Courtyard and we expect that a lack of miracles is God not working.  The pattern presented indicates that we need to progress through the stages of the tabernacle to the Holy of Holies before we should expect immediate response by the Holy God to our action.

The Pattern of Three and Yeshua’s Comments

So from that description of the tabernacle, you can see that there is a pattern of three that can be applied to many passages within scripture.  This construct corresponds to the tabernacle or later temple of God, as there are three locations- the Courtyard, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies.  People in the time of the Bible were very familiar with this pattern and the context for their life.  Therefore, many verses in scripture take after this pattern.  These verses can be more accurately understood by applying the pattern of the tabernacle to strengthen the meaning.  We have seen how the objects themselves in the Ark of the Covenant exhibit this unique pattern.  You can also see how God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit also can fit into this pattern.  I will not go into any detail on this.   The general arrangement of the table below is from Eddie Chumney’s book “Who is the Bride of Christ?”.  The table in that book has been expanded with further insight here.  The Bride of Christ are those who commune with God deeply in the Holy of Holies, not just all believers.  This follows the pattern exhibited in the tabernacle, explained here.  In essence, there are different levels of faith that are exhibited by associated works.  Spiritual fruit is produced at increasing quality and quantity, the closer we get to God Himself.  Please read the verses in this table to see how the tabernacle pattern is used in the statements of Yeshua and Shaul (Paul).

Verse or Teaching

Courtyard

Holy Place

Holy of Holies

I John 2: 13-14

Little Children

-saved

Young Men

-God’s word is making them strong

Fathers

-strength through knowing God

John 4 (Yeshua is asked only about the Way, replies with Way, Truth, and Life!)

Way

-but broad way leads to destruction! (Mat 5:17)

Truth

Life

-narrow way leads to life! (Mat 5:17)

Feast Seasons of the Lord

Passover

-redemption

-blood of the lamb on the doorpost

Pentecost

-giving of the Torah or Truth

-growing in knowledge and ways of Him

Tabernacles

-entering the promised land

-overcoming giants (miracles)

Mark 4:1-8 (crop produced from seed, correspond to Hebrew alphabet gematria)

30 fold

-Gimmel = 3: Hebrew word “gadol” is multitudes, or large number of believers

-Yod = 10: Right hand of God, His Power

-Lamed = 30: the sheperd’s staff used to teach and prod the multitudes toward the narrow way

60 fold

-Vav= 6: connection between heaven and earth

-Yod = 10: Right hand of God, His Power

-Samech = 60: means to support or sustain

100 fold

-Yod = 10: Right hand of God, His Power

-Yod = 10: Right hand of God, His Power or His Power squared!

-Qoof = 100: means back of the head, humble, Hebrew word “qatan” means small,  “qodosh” means holy, and “qodesh” means pure

Godly Knowledge

Sins are Forgiven

-learn proper sacrifice and repentance

Know the Word

-meditate on His word daily

Know Him

-commune with Him deeply

Romans 12: 1-2

Good Will

Acceptable Will

Perfect Will

Revelation 17:14

Called

Chosen

Faithful

You can see from the table that the pattern of three or the pattern of the tabernacle is seen implicitly in several verses.  In many cases, there is no particular reason to use the pattern, other than to point back to the tabernacle.  For instance, why does Yeshua discuss the truth and the life too, when he was only asked about the Way?  What is Paul (Shaul) referring to in Romans regarding the “good, acceptable, and perfect will of God?”  Why doesn’t he just state the will of God?  The key to understanding this is the outline of the tabernacle and its three sections.  Understanding how God has designed His earthly home can help us understand how we design our walk.  We want to be found favorable in His sight and not be burned, but rather protected by the fire of God.  Salvation is the first step, but true life is about much more!

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