What’s the first thing you see when you go into church? Do you look around to see if your friends are there? Maybe you go in to see who the speaker is? Or if the member you dislike is there. But these previous statements may not apply to you. It may not have applied to the Israelites because, as we will see, they were confronted with a very important and noticeable object…
“Using acacia wood, construct a square altar 7 1⁄2 feet wide, 7 1⁄2 feet long, and 4 1⁄2 feet high.[a] 2 Make horns for each of its four corners so that the horns and altar are all one piece. Overlay the altar with bronze. 3 Make ash buckets, shovels, basins, meat forks, and firepans, all of bronze. 4 Make a bronze grating for it, and attach four bronze rings at its four corners. 5 Install the grating halfway down the side of the altar, under the ledge. 6 For carrying the altar, make poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. 7 Insert the poles through the rings on the two sides of the altar. 8 The altar must be hollow, made from planks. Build it just as you were shown on the mountain.
Plans for the Courtyard
9 “Then make the courtyard for the Tabernacle, enclosed with curtains made of finely woven linen. On the south side, make the curtains 150 feet long.[b] 10 They will be held up by twenty posts set securely in twenty bronze bases. Hang the curtains with silver hooks and rings. 11 Make the curtains the same on the north side—150 feet of curtains held up by twenty posts set securely in bronze bases. Hang the curtains with silver hooks and rings. 12 The curtains on the west end of the courtyard will be 75 feet long,[c] supported by ten posts set into ten bases. 13 The east end of the courtyard, the front, will also be 75 feet long. 14 The courtyard entrance will be on the east end, flanked by two curtains. The curtain on the right side will be 22 1⁄2 feet long,[d] supported by three posts set into three bases. 15 The curtain on the left side will also be 22 1⁄2 feet long, supported by three posts set into three bases.
16 “For the entrance to the courtyard, make a curtain that is 30 feet long.[e] Make it from finely woven linen, and decorate it with beautiful embroidery in blue, purple, and scarlet thread. Support it with four posts, each securely set in its own base. 17 All the posts around the courtyard must have silver rings and hooks and bronze bases. 18 So the entire courtyard will be 150 feet long and 75 feet wide, with curtain walls 7 1⁄2 feet high,[f] made from finely woven linen. The bases for the posts will be made of bronze.
19 “All the articles used in the rituals of the Tabernacle, including all the tent pegs used to support the Tabernacle and the courtyard curtains, must be made of bronze.
Light for the Tabernacle
20 “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. 21 The lampstand will stand in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant.[g] Aaron and his sons must keep the lamps burning in the Lord’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel, and it must be observed from generation to generation.
The object they first saw when they entered the tabernacle was the Altar of Burnt Offering. This was a constant reminder of the sinful nature which brought about the death of an innocent creature. This reminded them of their need for a Redeemer. After this they could enter into true worship that springs from a grateful heart. But the service of offering had almost been discontinued in Israel. Since their time in Egypt the people had forgotten the correct form of worship. The people’s ideas of sacrifice had been largely molded by the ideas of the Egyptians, who actually learned this manner of worship from the Israelites. People had lost sight of what God had ordained them to do and His very own law. Their concept of worship which had been polluted by the Egyptian’s and God was going to clear it up for them once again.
Back to the altar: Every object in the Sanctuary stood as a symbol of the Plan of Salvation. The altar of burnt offering, with the blood that was shed from sacrifices, represented the gospel truth of the atonement for sin through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross. But action is also present in this chapter. The candlestick was always to remain lighted up. The responsibility of bringing the oil for the candlestick did not fall on the shoulders of the priests but on the whole congregation. Therefore, you and I also have the privilege of sharing the Gospel of Salvation and the Light of the World with everyone who surrounds us!
Our Father in heaven, we want to reveal the True Light of the World. Use us this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.