Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness

In the very place of the Shechinah Presence of the Holy One, the priest reflects the glory of His Presence. On his shoulders are the onyx stones on which the names of the twelve tribes are engraved. He thus carried the whole nation before the Throne of mercy, just as Yeshua our High Priest and good Shepherd carries us as lambs upon His shoulders before the throne of the Father. The names of the tribes were also inscribed on the twelve precious stones on the High Priest's breastplate.

by FFOZ's Israel Team

Once again the Tabernacle is standing in the wilderness of Israel! In a joint venture of a private investor and Israel's Ministry of Tourism, a replica of the Tabernacle constructed by the Israelites, according to God's explicit instructions to Moshe [Moses], has been erected in Timna Park. The park is situated 20 kilometers north of Eilat, in an area filled with stunning cliffs, canyons and wadis carved out of granite and different colored sandstone.

A small group of us decided to visit the site and investigate the resurrected Tabernacle. On entering Timna Park, we were immediately impressed by the grandeur of the scenery. As we rounded a bend in the road that brought us to Solomon's Pillars, the most breathtaking edifice in the park, our attention was immediately drawn to the snow-white curtains that formed the enclosure of the Mishkan. [Mishkan is a Hebrew name for the Tabernacle. It is derived from the word shachan meaning "dwell" and indicates God's purpose for the Tabernacle -- that it be a dwelling place for His Presence in the midst of His people. "Let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them." Exodus 25:8] The starkness of the white enclosure against the subdued brown and red hues of the desert certainly serves to draw one's attention to the structure, and ensures it will be noticed even from a distance.

The Entrance

Once up close one cannot see over the white curtains, as they are five cubits, or some nine feet high. The pure white linen is a reminder of the purity and holiness of the Holy One of Israel and of His Dwelling Place. Man could not naturally enter this holiness, but He made the way, by means of a wide and beautiful gate. As we approached to enter, I realized the gate was on the East, symbolizing God's mercy, and I was immediately reminded of Yeshua's words: "I am the way!" and "I am the door, by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved" (John 10:9). The door is generously wide (20 cubits, close to 40 feet) made of woven curtain, thus easily drawn aside, not made of wood or metal which could be difficult to open. It is beautifully patterned, woven in the four colors of white, blue, purple and scarlet.

These colors are echoed in the curtains of the tabernacle itself, and in the sash of the Levites and the garments of the High Priest. The white, as mentioned, represents purity and righteousness. The blue represents the heavens, the One Who came from heaven to earth, the Word, the living water reflecting the heavens, the t'chelet of the tzitzit on the tallit. The purple is associated with royalty and riches. It is a reminder that Mashiach ben Yoseph, the simple, humble servant represented by the outwardly unimposing Mishkan in the wilderness, would also return as Mashiach ben David, the King of kings -- represented by the glorious Temple that would stand securely in its resting-place in Jerusalem, from where He will rule and reign over all the earth. The scarlet represents the blood of the sacrifice, His blood, the cord which weaves through all of Scripture offering salvation, atonement of sin and eternal life.

The Altar of Sacrifice

Our pleasant guide led us through the gate and we entered the court. The first object we saw gleaming in the desert sun was the replica of the large brazen altar on which the priests offered the burnt sacrifices. The Hebrew word for "sacrifice" is korban from the root meaning to "draw near." Thus, the word "sacrifice," as used in the Torah, is used exclusively in the context of man's relationship with God, and reflects the powerful secret inherent in every detail of the Mishkan -- the "drawing near" in close, intimate relationship with the One true God of Israel.

Blood was placed on the horns [of the altar], which were on each corner and which were a place of refuge for anyone who had inadvertently caused loss of life and was seeking a merciful judgment. The priest also offered the blood of the sacrifice on the east side of the altar. Our guide pointed out that after Adam and Eve had sinned and were expelled from the Garden of Eden, an angel with a flaming sword was posted to guard the entrance which was on the east of Eden! Man's sin caused him to leave the Garden of Eden from the east; now his way of return, by God's mercy, is also from the east!

The Copper Laver

Next we saw the large copper laver standing outside the entrance to the Sanctuary where, before entering the Holy Place, the Levite washed his hands and feet. As well as removing any dirt from his hands and desert sand from his feet, it was a reminder that he was now drawing nearer to the Shechinah presence of God. The women had given their brass mirrors to be used for the construction of the laver. It thus had a reflective surface in which the priests could also examine their faces. Together with the water it contains, it is a powerful reminder of our need to daily examine our lives according to the Word, (James 1:23-25).

An interesting fact shared by our guide was that the copper used in Egypt at the time of the Pharaohs was mined in this very spot, Timna, by Israelite slaves. The Israelites had certainly followed the route to Kadesh Barnea, via the mountains of Edom, and would have been within a ten mile radius of where we were standing. The copper taken from the earth under the severe conditions of slavery was returned in freedom and was now used to glorify and worship the Almighty God of Israel.

The Holy Place

We were now standing at the entrance to the Holy Place. Five slender columns of acacia wood covered with gold and standing in bases of copper, stood before the curtain through which, in the original Tabernacle, only the priests could enter. Our guide pointed out that acacia wood, which is strong, light in weight and waterproof, had been used as the base of almost everything. It was also a picture of something common that was transformed into something precious, made holy, and placed in the Dwelling Place of God. Such are our lives in Him!

Entering in, we were again amazed at the compact dimensions of the structure. The object that dominates and compels one's attention, is the beautiful seven-branched Menorah. Its lamps were filled with pure olive oil and lit by the priest every evening, thus providing light in the Holy Place. The original was crafted in one piece from one talent, or seventy pounds, of pure gold. Our guide quickly informed us that none of the objects in this Tabernacle were made of real gold, silver, etc. The construction of the true Tabernacle called for one ton of gold, four tons of silver and two and a half tons of copper!

To the right, or on the northern side opposite the Menorah, stands the Table of Showbread -- a gold covered table upon which twelve freshly baked loaves of bread were placed each week. These represented the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel, as well as God's miraculous provision. The loaves remained fresh and were eaten by Aaron and his sons every Shabbat when the new loaves were set in place. (Leviticus 24:5-9)

We saw a model of the High Priest, standing beside the golden Altar of Incense that stood before the beautifully woven curtain of the Holy of Holies. The outer garment of the High Priest was embroidered with the four theme colors mentioned previously; however they are interwoven with threads of gold. At this close proximity, in the very place of the Shechinah Presence of the Holy One, the priest reflects the glory of His Presence. On his shoulders are the onyx stones on which the names of the twelve tribes are engraved. He thus carried the whole nation before the Throne of mercy, just as Yeshua our High Priest and good Shepherd carries us as lambs upon His shoulders before the throne of the Father. The names of the tribes were also inscribed on the twelve precious stones on the High Priest's breastplate. Here he carried them close to his heart, each one on an individual, unique stone, as he offered up the special, fragrant incense and entered into the Place of God's Presence. How deeply reassuring it is to know that we too, are individually his "precious treasure" when approaching Him in the fragrant presence of our High Priest.

The Holy of Holies

Beyond the veil, the perfect space measuring 10 cubits square, all is covered with gold. As we passed through the curtain, it was almost impossible to imagine how it must have been for the High Priest to enter the awesome holiness and glory of the Holy of Holies. We were awed, however, to see the model of the Ark of the Covenant with the solid gold plate of the mercy seat set beneath the wings of the Cherubim. Once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter and sprinkle blood on this mercy seat. Here was the Throne of God, and instead of strict judgment we find the most gracious mercy. The guide carefully slid open the smooth "gold" plate, and peeping inside we saw replicas of the three objects the Ark once contained: the two stone tablets on which the Ten Words of God had been inscribed, representing the Torah given to Moshe, a golden pot containing manna, and Aaron's almond rod that miraculously budded and bloomed as a sign of God's appointment and anointing. Together they formed a perfect picture of the Lord's provision, protection and guidance. Death had reigned from Adam to Moses (Romans 4) but here we saw the Torah , the Word of Life, to be fulfilled by the Living Torah and Bread of Life, Yeshua, the Anointed High Priest, Who would cause the veil into the Holy of Holies to be rent -- affording entrance to the redeemed Israel of God. All those who are a set apart, holy priesthood through the atonement of Messiah, our "High Priest forever." (Hebrews 6:18)

-- Bikurei Tziyon, Jan/Feb 2000 First Fruits of Zion

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Hope of Israel Ministries
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Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.
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