Noted biblical writers on dispensational lines - mostly of the persuasion known to the world as "Plymouth Brethren"


The Tabernacle’s Typical Teaching


SOMEONE has well described the Tabernacle "as a prophecy in linen, silver and gold." "The patterns of things in the heavens" (Heb. ix. 23)-"the example and shadow of heavenly things" (Heb. viii. 5)- " a shadow of things to come" (Col. ii. ‘7) -"every whit of it [the Tabernacle] uttereth His glory" (Ps. xxix. 9, margin) - are divine statements which bespeak to the full the importance and blessedness of our theme. The New Testament, especially the Epistle to the Hebrews, throws much light on the subject. It is all compressed into one word, that these things "are a shadow of things to come ; but the body (or substance, that is in contrast to the shadow) is of CHRIST" (Col. ii. 17).

CHRIST, then, is our happy theme - His Deity, His manhood, His atoning death, His finished work, His resurrection, the blessing that flows from Him to His people, and their association with Him.

Less than two chapters (Gen. i. ii.) suffice to tell us of the mighty work of creation. Indeed one verse of ten short words (Gen. i. x) gives us the record "that the worlds were framed by the word of God" (Heb. xi. 3). But thirteen chapters in Exodus alone are taken up with instructions as to the Tabernacle, whilst, we may say, the whole of the history, teaching and instructions of the Pentateuch, stand mainly in relation to the Tabernacle. This alone shows the importance of our theme. Creation was necessary to afford a platform on which God might carry out His scheme, the shadows of which are given in the Tabernacle. Creation is but the scaffolding for the erection of the building. The scaffolding will be taken down one day, and the building of God will remain for ever to His praise.

To the unenlightened reader the instructions as to the Tabernacle and its service seem dry and needless recitals of a meaningless ritual of long ago. But to the Christian, who holds the key to the right understanding of it all, it is instinct with delightful teaching, it is fragrant of Christ, it is a striking evidence of the fulness and inspiration of God’s word, its record is one of the richest mines of purest gold in the whole Bible. May God give grace and help for such a theme. May He richly bless our meditations.


NOT fewer than 603,550 male Israelites of twenty years old and upwards paid the atonement money that was taken of the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai, when God numbered His people. This number did not include the tribe of Levi, which was specially set apart for the work of the Tabernacle. From this we gather that roughly speaking some three million souls must have come out of Egypt, when God, "with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm," delivered His people from the bitter bondage of Pharaoh. What a stirring tale it is, a tribute to God’s mighty power and abounding mercy.

Sheltered by the blood on the passover night, saved by power as God’s mighty hand brought them through the Red Sea, this host of erstwhile slaves found themselves God’s redeemed and rescued people. on the wilderness side of the Red Sea, on the opposite shore of which lay Egypt, the land of their bitter bondage. These things happened for our learning. We read "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" (i Cor. V. 7) ; again, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (i Cor. x. II) ; again, "Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope" (Rom. xv. 4).

The passover begins the spiritual history of Israel, and by it God would declare that redemption is the foundation of His dealings with men.
On this foundation God announced His good pleasure in dwelling among His people, and to this end instructed Moses as to the construction of the Tabernacle, the order of the sacrifices, the service of the Priests and Levites, and the conduct that should mark a people thus brought into relation to Himself. The Tabernacle was divided into two compartments, the holy place and the holy of holies. Its total length was about 54 feet; its breadth about 16 feet. The court of the Tabernacle was roughly 18o feet by 90 feet.
For its size it was perhaps the most expensive structure that has ever been.
Over £16o,ooo worth of gold, and over £34,000 of silver, besides quantities of copper, linen, etc., were used in its construction. The weight of silver alone has been computed at 4 tons. This small building was worth about £200,000.

When we reflect who furnished the materials, our astonishment deepens. The Israelites had just escaped from bitter bondage. Their lot had been rigorous. "Bricks without straw" had plumbed the depths of the misery of sweated labour. Yet these were the people who so willingly offered of their substance that Moses had to restrain their flood of generosity.

We read of the offerers that "everyone whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom His spirit made willing," gladly contributed to the work of the Lord. Men and women brought their bracelets, earrings, rings, tablets and jewels of gold; the "wise-hearted" women spun linen and goats’ hair; the rulers brought precious stones, spices and oil. What a lesson to us ! Those who sow sparingly shall reap sparingly; those who sow bountifully shall reap bountifully. "God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. ix. 7). The widow, who cast her two mites - all her living - into the treasury of the temple, when that system of things was drawing to its close, and morally had "Ichabod" written upon it, might well encourage us at the end of this dispensation to serve the Lord in this way. He will be no man’s debtor, nor is He unrighteous to forget the work and labour of love done in His name. In giving the typical significance of the various articles used in the construction of the Tabernacle, it is well to remember that we cannot dogmatize, but that we offer our explanations to the spiritual judgment of the reader.

Many things in Scripture we can and must be dogmatic about; for instance, the Deity and manhood of the Lord Jesus, His atoning work, the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, the inspiration of Scripture, the Church of God, her origin, blessings and destiny, the calling and ultimate blessing of Israel - for these truths are directly affirmed in Scripture. And even in the types there are things we can be dogmatic about, such as the passover being typical of Christ seen in the efficacy of His atoning death : "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" (i Cor. v. 7), is our warrant for this. The mercy seat is typical of Christ, who in His atoning death enables God to meet and bless the believing sinner, and that consistently with His own holiness. "God hath set forth [Christ] to be a propitiation [literally a mercy seat] through faith in His blood" (Rom. iii. 25), being our warrant for this. Other examples will occur to the reader. Bearing the above in mind, let us proceed with our explanations.

GOLD. - Typical of Deity when in reference to Christ; of divine righteousness when seen in relation to men. In Exodus whenever gold is typical of Deity it is always "pure gold" ; when it illustrates divine righteousness the word gold" is used. Such is the exactitude of Scripture.

SILVER. - Typical of redemption. The half shekel demanded of the males from twenty years old and upward when Israel was numbered, is described as "atonement money" (Exodus xxx. ii - x6).

BRASS. - Wherever the word "brass" is employed in Scripture it should be "copper." Brass is an alloy and not so fire-resisting as copper, a pure metal. Keeping this in mind, we purpose employing the phraseology employed in our Authorized Version and speak of "the brazen altar," "the brazen layer," etc. Brass then is typical of atonement in the aspect of the judgment of God being sustained, and man’s responsibility being met.

BLUE. - Typical of what is heavenly. The Hindustani word for heaven is simply "blue." It is the colour of the cloudless sky.

PURPLE. - Typical of the glory of Christ as Son of man, as King of kings and Lord of lords. Purple in history is the colour used by emperors. Christ will be the true Lord Emperor. An Emperor is, strictly speaking, a King of kings.

SCARLET. - Typical of the glory of Christ as the King of Israel. Scarlet is the kingly colour, and Christ will be specially the King of Israel. In mockery of His kingly claims the soldiers put on Jesus "a scarlet robe" (Matt. xxvii. 28).

FINE LINEN. - Typical of the spotless sinless life of the Lord Jesus, or of that which should characterize His people.

GOATS’ HAIR. - Typical of Christ as prophet. Zech. xiii. 4, 5, shows that a hairy garment was the badge of the prophetic office. When the sick King Ahaziah enquired what sort of man it was that met his messengers, they replied that he was a hairy man; that is, he wore a hairy garment, and had a leathern girdle round his loins. Immediately the King recognized the description as that of Elijah the prophet. John the Baptist is, likewise, described as having a camel’s hair garment and a leathern girdle.

RAMS’ SKINS DYED RED. - Typical of Christ’s devotedness to God’s glory even to death. The "ram" is called "the ram of Aaron’s consecration" in Exodus xxix. 26, etc. "Dyed red" signifies the length to which consecration can go, even to death.

BADGERS’ SKINS. - Typical of Christ as seen by the world. These formed the outward covering of the Tabernacle. Illustrates Isaiah liii. 2, no form or comeliness, no beauty to make Him desired.

SHITTIM WOOD. - Typical of the humanity of the Lord Jesus, or that of the believer. The Acacia wood of the desert - very indestructible in nature.

OIL. - Typical of God’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is called in the New Testament "the Anointing," and the typical anointing in Old Testament times was always with oil.

SPICES. - Typical of the fragrance of Christ before God.

ONYX AND PRECIOUS STONES. - Typical of the preciousness of the believer to God, the outcome of his relation to Christ.

SANCTUARY. - How blessed is God’s desire to dwell among His people, .and in order to carry out His gracious desire He must have a sanctuary - a holy set-apart place - to dwell in. The materials used in the construction of this dwelling in their typical significance show that the only way by which this desire can be met is by Christ, in His person, and His work, and the place and portion His people have in relation to Him before God.

"ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN."Human mind and imagination are not left to work out what is suitable to the mind of God. Moses had been called up to the top of Mount Sinai. The elders of Israel saw him disappear in the glory of the Lord, which was like a devouring fire on the top of the mount. There he was instructed by God and exhorted - " look thou that thou make them [the various parts of the Tabernacle] after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount" (Exod. xxv. 40).

Seeing all these details have been designed by God Himself in order to teach His people lessons of heavenly things, these types and shadows become intensely interesting, and their study not to be neglected without real. loss to the souL
Just as the refraction of light breaks it s up into its seven prismatic colours, so the types break up the great truths concerning Christ - His Deity, His manhood, His atoning work, the blessing and standing of His people - into instructive details. And as we learn these details, and one detail after another is stored in our memory, gradually the right appreciation of the whole is formed in our souls, till the truth is woven into the very spiritual fibre of our beings, affecting us for God’s glory, and through us affecting others.
End of this Extract

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