Last week, in WILDERNESS INSTRUCTIONS, Part 11, we saw that the 4-fold covering to the tabernacle is a reminder to us of Jesus Christ, who came as a humble servant, who is the head of His flock, who took the punishment for our sins, and thus, covered all of our sin. When we accept His sacrifice, we are then brought under that covering, our sins are removed from us, and we are seen as "white as snow". Only then can we fully experience being under the "shadow of His wings", that we can fully experience His protection, His comfort.
Today's lesson takes us to the actual frame of the Tabernacle: The
boards designed to hold up the coverings:
"And for the
tabernacle you shall make the boards of acacia wood, standing upright.
Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall
be the width of each board. Two tenons shall be in each board for
binding one to another. Thus you shall make for all the boards of the
tabernacle." (Ex. 26:15-17 NKJV)
The frame, then, was to be
made of Acacia wood, which we saw in earlier lessons is a hard wood,
found in abundance in the Sinai Peninsula, which is particularly hardy
against insects. Thus, as we saw in
Wilderness Instructions, Part 3, this can be symbolic that our
heart-temples aren’t something that can be eaten away. They will stand
the test of time.
The specific height and width of each board is
given, and we can note that each one was to be approximately 15 feet
(4.5 metres) tall, and 2.2 feet (.7 metres) wide. Basically they were
long and thin. God then specifies how many boards would make up each
side of the tabernacle: Twenty on the north and south sides, and six on
the westward side (See
Why not just one board?
Let's remember that the
tabernacle in the wilderness was meant to be a portable structure. The
fact that the walls were made up of individual boards must have gone a
long ways towards facilitating the transport of the tabernacle!
God also specifies how the boards will be held upright: "You shall
make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards: two sockets under
each of the boards for its two tenons..." (Ex 26:19).
even specifies how the corners will be reinforced: "And you shall
also make two boards for the two back corners of the tabernacle. They
shall be coupled together at the bottom and they shall be coupled
together at the top by one ring. Thus it shall be for both of them. They
shall be for the two corners. So there shall be eight boards with their
sockets of silver—sixteen sockets—two sockets under each board."
And finally, God gives instructions for the
support of the roof as well: "And you shall make bars of acacia
wood: five for the boards on one side of the tabernacle, five bars for
the boards on the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the
boards of the side of the tabernacle, for the far side westward. The
middle bar shall pass through the midst of the boards from end to end."
All of these boards were to be overlaid with gold:
"You shall overlay the boards with gold, make their rings of gold as
holders for the bars, and overlay the bars with gold." (Ex. 26:29).
We saw in
Wilderness Instructions, Part 3 that the gold overlay on the acacia
wood was to help us remember that our heart-temples should be the most
precious things we can possibly imagine in our lives. But just what is
the purpose of this elaborate framework?
The obvious purpose
would be one of support. The tabernacle needed to have a framework,
something to hold up the symbolic coverings, the symbolic veil,
something to house the symbolic furniture. Without this framework, there
would be no tabernacle, nothing for the priests to serve in, nowhere for
the curtains to hang.
We must remember that these golden boards,
held together by the golden bards and resting in their silver sockets,
sustained the weight of the curtains and coverings. We saw last week
that the curtains and the veil all give us a picture of Jesus, and we
know that on Jesus was hung all the weight of sin, the weight of the
1 Peter 2:24). The boards, then, represent the person of Christ.
They represent how He gave up everything to die a cruel death for us,
that we might be saved, and upon that one Sacrifice, the future of
mankind was hung.
And what does this mean for our heart-temples?
Just this: when we read about the elaborate framework for the
tabernacle in the wilderness, let it be a reminder to us that Jesus'
gift on the cross has formed the framework upon which hangs every hope
of salvation, every hope of freedom from the dominion of darkness and
sin. Let's think of this framework in the tabernacle, and let's remember
that Jesus is the reason our heart-temples
exist and maintain their form!
And that completes the
instructions given for the construction of the tabernacle and its
furniture. But God's instructions don’t stop here. He goes on to give
instructions about the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle. Does this
courtyard also have significance for our heart-temples? Join us next
week and find out: Wilderness Instructions, Part 13: Make a Courtyard
for the Tabernacle...
In His love,
Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator
for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
** Archaeological Study Bible, Copyright 2005 by the Zondervan
Corporation, p. 153, The Tabernacle and the Ark and p. 133, Commentary
on Vs. 25:37.
(To access the entire "Wilderness
Instructions" mini-series, please click