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Before the Tabernacle (was built)

Query for the Month


February 2014

Next up-date: March 1st 2014 (God willing).

Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.

Some perpetual questions ....

Is there really an immortal soul?

Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world?
Click here to find out!

Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends.   It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read! 

(when you get to the site just click "cancel" and it will let you in.  Then click "order" to obtain a copy. )

In the meantime, try this site.    And here's one where you can read it online.


Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.

In this reply the old-fashioned words of the KJV have been modernised, and in some instances, the man-made punctuation has been altered for greater understanding.  Some of the comments are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.  All the ideas expressed in this article, right or wrong, are my own. 


Hebrews 4:

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities [or problems]; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

How do we do that today now that the earthly tabernacle no longer exists?


We should first ask why did the Hebrews have such a building?

Because they wanted it as we saw last time!!

Having spent all their lives in Egypt and seen the magnificent temples which that nation had built for their gods (one complex covered an area of one square mile), the children of Israel wanted to have something special for theirs. Because at first their desire was based on a good heart towards Him and was very strong in their will, the Son of God agreed to their proposal and allowed it, although it would later prove to be a great curse to them. "Let them do so," He said, "but make sure that it is built according to My plan" to minimise the damage it would do to them.

One of the problems associated with the gift of free will is that when something is strongly desired by His creatures, God has to respect that desire and allow them to have it until they are willing to change their mind. He did the same when the nation wanted a king, although that time He was able to clearly warn them of the dangers – a warning which they ignored. However, they were told:

1 Samuel 10:

19 And you have this day rejected your God, who Himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and you have said to Him, "Nay, but set a king over us".

To mitigate against the evil effects of this choice of kingship, the Son of God told His people that there would be good times and bad times under the monarchy, and later, they would taken into exile in Babylon. He spoke again about what they would do when He at last weaned them off such a system but didn’t reinstate Him. However, they came out of there with a system of governors (see Nehemiah 5:14), and were soon swallowed up by the nations until they ended up under the Romans who appointed them another king. (Matthew 2:1.)

But do you remember the sign above Christ’s head on the cross? Matthew 27:37; John 19:21.

How are the new people of God to get away from such a disposition? Paul wrote to the New Testament believers that they should prayerfully read their Bibles:

2 Timothy 3:

13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived [into kingships for themselves]. 14 But continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of Whom you have learned them; 15 and that from a child you have known the holy scriptures [the Old Testament], which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Here’s an example of this attitude:

3 John 1:

9 I wrote to the church [and sent the letters by messengers]: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence among them, receives us not.

10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, prating [babbling, with empty and foolish talk which often appears to be serious.] against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither does he himself receive the brothers [whom I sent], and forbids them that would, and casts them [the messengers] out of the church. 11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God.

What can we learn from the old sanctuary?

The exodus people made the house of their God at Mount Sinai. It was an easily assembled and disassembled two-roomed tent with wooden sides held up by ropes and pegs, and doorways which were covered by curtains. It was not large, about 45ft (15m) in length by 15ft (7.5m) in width and 15ft high, with the second room being a perfect cube and the first twice as long.

Exodus 26:

1 Moreover you shall make the tabernacle [tent] with ten curtains of fine [white] twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet [designs]: with cherubims of cunning work [beautiful representations of angels] shall you make [embroider] them . . .

15 And you shall make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood [overlaid with gold] standing up [on silver foundations]. 16 Ten cubits [15ft] shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half [just over 2ft] shall be the breadth of one board . . .

30 And you shall rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was showed you in the mount.

31 And you shall make a veil [curtain] of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine [white] twined linen of cunning [beautiful] work: with cherubims [angels] shall it be made. 32 And you shall hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold, [even] their hooks shall be of gold, [and the pillars shall stand] upon the four sockets of silver [as foundation blocks].

33 And you shall hang up the veil under the taches [the clasps], that you may bring in there within the veil the ark of the testimony [the box with the Ten Commandments inside it]: and the veil shall divide to you between the holy place [the first room] and the most holy [the second room].

34 And you shall put the Mercy Seat [the seat of the throne of God] upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place [the second room].

35 And you shall set the table [of showbread] without [outside] the veil [in the first room], and the candlestick [the lampstand] over against [opposite] the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south [the priest’s left]: and you shall put the table on the north side [his right hand].

36 And you shall make a[nother] hanging for the [first] door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework [patterned].

The building was placed within a courtyard which was defined by a white linen boundary fence. The sanctuary building itself had no floor covering – it was after all, just a tent with gold-plated wooden sides. In the courtyard area there was a brass covered altar on which to burn the daily or continual sacrifice and the occasional sin offering etc., and a large vat (called a "laver") which held water for washing the hands and feet of the priests before they entered the building. There were tables in an area on the north side of the courtyard on which the animals were killed and drained of blood.

Only a person who had been circumcised and who had experienced the Passover meal could come into that area, and they would only come as they felt the need either to praise God by rededicating their life, or were asking for forgiveness and cleansing for an individual action of sin. He has told us that, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just [anxious] to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness [teach us how to stop sinning]." 1 John 1:9.

John 8:

10 When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those your accusers? Has no man condemned you?" 11 She said, "No man, LORD". And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more".

Unlike Pagan temples, in that whole system there was no likeness or image of God anywhere, although there were representations of angels everywhere. There should have been no thought of appeasing a god of anger or disfavour, only an abiding Presence of the God of peace and protection (that’s why it was called a "sanctuary"). Unfortunately, that changed as other religions made their mark on Judaism and Christianity, for it is pagan to believe that our heavenly Father wants a PAYMENT OF A LIFE before He will forgive us our trespasses.

This is His condition: "And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may [be able to] forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven [be able to] forgive your trespasses". Mark 11:25-26.

However, He had told them how He wanted them to approach Him on a daily basis BEFORE the tabernacle idea came up. This was because He wanted them to realise that He was ALWAYS WITH THEM without ceremony in their daily lives. At those times they could build local altars:

Exodus 20:

22 And the LORD said to Moses, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, You have seen that I have talked with you from heaven [at Mount Sinai with a blaze of light]. 23 You shall not make with Me gods [images or statues] of silver, neither shall you make to you gods of gold.

24 An altar of earth you shall make to Me [wherever you please], and shall sacrifice thereon your burnt offerings [of dedication], and your peace offerings [in thanks], your sheep, and your oxen. In all places where I record My name [My character in various inspired persons] I will come to you, and I will bless you. [Consider Genesis 12:7; 13:18.]

[This altar with its animal meant that the offerer had agreed

that Someone had "died" for them

and they had accepted His life in place of their own. Revelation 13:8.]

25 And if you will make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn [shaped] stone: for if you lift up your tool upon it [to make it look good], you have polluted it [leave it natural].

26 Neither shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness [your bare legs] be not discovered thereon. [Don’t have a "high" place of pride and attempt to stand above others.]

However, this practise was to be discontinued when they were at last settled comfortably in the land of Canaan because of the inevitable comparison they would make with the heathen practices. So, near the end of the forty years of desert wanderings, Moses said to them:

Deuteronomy 2:

1 These are the statutes and judgments, which you shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of your fathers gives you to possess it, all the days that you live upon the earth.

2 You shall utterly destroy all the places wherein the nations which you shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: 3 and you shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and you shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.

4 You shall not do so to the LORD your God [any more, because of the way they have done it].

5 But to the place which the LORD your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there [now that you have desired a central place], even to His habitation shall you seek, and there you shall come: 6 and there you shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks: 7 and there you shall eat before the LORD your God [in religious meals three times a year], and you shall rejoice in all that you put your hand to, you and your households, wherein the LORD your God has blessed you.

8 You shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. 9 [You can do that now] for you are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God gives you. 10 But when you go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God gives you to inherit, and when He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety;

11 then there shall be a place which the LORD your God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there [it was moved about the country]; there shall you bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to the LORD: 12 and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you, and your sons, and your daughters, and your menservants, and your maidservants, and the Levite that is within your gates [the one who lives in your community]; forasmuch as he has no part nor inheritance [of the land] with you.

13 Take heed to yourself that you offer not your burnt offerings [then] in every place that you see: 14 but in the place which the LORD shall choose in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you. [Today this means, choose your religious affiliation carefully.]

15 Notwithstanding you may kill and eat [ordinary] flesh in all your gates [for your ordinary meals], whatsoever your soul lusts after [as you desire], according to the blessing [advice] of the LORD your God which He has given you: the [ritually] unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart. 16 Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it upon the earth as water.

With the new plan they only needed to attend the tabernacle/temple on three special occasions each year when they could also meet with other Hebrews who were not from their area, and share their understanding of Him.

Exodus 23:

14 Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year. 15 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread [in our Mar/Apr]: (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days [from the 15th to the 21st, immediately after the Passover day], as I commanded you, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it you came out from Egypt: and none shall appear before Me empty [you should bring gifts to share]).

16 And [you shall come on] the Feast of Harvest [later known as the Day of Pentecost, in the 3rd month, our Jun/Jul], [with] the firstfruits of your labours [representing your first converts], which you have sown in the field: and [also come on] the Feast of Ingathering [aka The Feast of Tabernacles], which is in the end of the year [in the 7th month, our Sep/Oct], when you have gathered in [all] your labours [harvests] out of the field [and finished your work].

17 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the LORD GOD. [Any other time they could do the ritual in their hearts as New Testament people are supposed to do.]

But most of them totally misinterpreted His gesture and now saw Him as being confined to the tabernacle and felt free to do their own thing somewhere else, which was one of the problems He knew they would have when they insisted on the building.

That’s why it is written in the New Testament: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known", and it was just as true then. 1 Corinthians 13:12.

1 Corinthians 13: The Message (MSG) version:

12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Once the tabernacle was built and was in use, day by day continually the priests laid two lambs, one at a time, on the altar of sacrifice, and sprinkled incense on the altar of intercession at the same time as the lamps were trimmed and refilled. These three things burned 24/7 and pictured the continual dedication of our Redeemer and the addition of His righteousness to our prayers, and we can look to them as being a spiritual way of communicating with our God.

It is also written:

Romans 5:

19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners [through Adam’s choice], so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous [through the Son of God’s choice].

20 Moreover the law [of ceremonies with the Ten Commandments] entered, that the offence might abound [might be more easily recognised]. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 that as sin has reigned [ruled, and led] to death [in your past life], even so might grace [the free gift of God] reign through righteousness to eternal life [in your present one] by Jesus Christ our LORD.

Chapter 6:

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2 God forbid! How shall we, that are DEAD TO SIN, live any longer therein? [It’s time to stop being controlled by it.] 3 Know you not [haven’t you realised], that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death [in a spiritual way]?

4 Therefore we are "buried" with Him by baptism into "death": that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life [being born a second time, just as in the Passover ritual].

5 For if we have been planted [buried] together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: 6 knowing this, that our "old man" [our entire past life] is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

7 For he that is "dead" is freed from [the power of] sin! (Hebrews 2:14.)

8 Now if we be "dead" with Christ, we believe that we shall also "live" with Him [in the new life]: 9 knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over Him. 10 For in that He died, He died to sin ONCE [for you]: but in that He lives, He lives to God [for you].

11 Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin [once], but alive [forevermore] to God through Jesus Christ our LORD [born again].

12 Let not sin therefore reign [rule] in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof [it’s now your choice].

The thought being expressed in those verses is that now we are joined to the Son of God we can stop sinning! Because of our "marriage" to Him at conversion we can ask Him to save us from temptation as it comes to us, and overcome EVERY time, if WE WANT TO, for "sin" (as "the old husband") is "dead"!

If we do that then we won’t NEED to come to the spiritual sanctuary in heaven and make confessions over the head of our Saviour, but only come to praise and thank Him.

But if we do have to come with a contrite heart and confess to a sin which we have chosen to do, (for as a newborn "wife" we must admit that we have chosen to disobey, and not claim that we couldn’t help it) then He will "eat" the flesh of the "female goat" we have brought (for that was the common person’s animal as directed by God, Leviticus 4:28), and the RECORD and RESULT of that guilt will pass to Him.

The "wages of sin is death", and as we have confessed the sin His "blood" has become "polluted" in place of ours. (Because of the exchange of forgiveness we go free and clean.) He then makes a confession of His own later over a bullock, and that "blood" or evidence of His "death" is placed in the sanctuary, thus "polluting" it to the point where it needs "cleansing" once a year, or in the spiritual level, once in world history.

The "blood" is also a record of our forgiveness.

Thus we find grace!

And, because the building also represents His body, He Himself is still "polluted" by this transfer and will require "cleansing" or "restoring to His rightful place" as the margin of our next query text reads.


Although the earthly sanctuary/temple does not exist any more, and the heavenly one is beyond our physical reach, we can "by faith" (in our imagination based on the word of God) trace the footsteps of the earthly priests in their daily work, and then those of the high priest on THE "Day of Atonement".

We can learn from what they did as a "shadow" that which our High Priest is doing as a "reality".

Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated,

but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.


Next query. To be discussed from February 1st 2014,

Exodus 29:

38 Now this is that which you shall offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. 39 The one lamb you shall offer in the morning; and the other lamb you shall offer at even.

40 And with the one lamb [in the morning] a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of a hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of a hin of wine for a drink offering.

41 And the other lamb you shall offer at even, and shall do [add] thereto according to the meat [flour] offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour [an enjoyable experience for God], an offering made by fire to the LORD.

42 This shall be a CONTINUAL burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there to you. 43 And THERE I WILL MEET WITH THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified BY MY GLORY [presence].

What was the purpose of the daily BURNT offering?

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