The Tabernacle of Moses is a giant gospel tract that explains the entire Bible—YHVH’s plan of salvation from Genesis to Revelation—in a simple child-like way, so that our human pea brains will be able to understand that which is, in reality, way beyond our comprehension.
This post contains A LOT of info, so grab a cup of coffee (or two or three) and get the coffee “anointing” and sit down and learn some things about the Tabernacle of Moses that you’ve probably never heard anywhere else. I promise that you will be blessed (and I don’t make promises that I can’t keep). This is because YHVH gave me these revelations many years ago, so I give him all the glory and credit.
First, the Tabernacle is YHVH’s plan of salvation or redemption for humans. Here’s a quick outline of this. We won’t cover this part in great detail here, since we’ve gone over these things previously on this blog over the past few weeks. (Please review each of the furnishings in the tabernacle to see how they relate to the seven and eight steps in YHVH’s plan of salvation.)
The Bible Is the Story of Reconciliation Between Two Lovers—The Tabernacle Contains the Outline of that Love Story
Love and romance has captured the imagination of man since time immemorial. Today we see this fascination evidenced in music, movies, literature and numerous other ways including modern man’s obsession with sexuality and even, sadly, in rise of pornography and the societal acceptance of sexually perverse lifestyles.
The Creator of the universe, the Set Apart One of Israel, the Author of the Scriptures, is captivated by the concept of love and romance as well. He is the Creator of marriage and sex. In fact, his first command to man was to be fruitful and to multiply and to fill the earth with humans (Gen 1:28). To accomplish this involves sexual relations in marriage. The writer of Hebrews declares that marriage is honorable and the marriage bed is not to be defiled (Heb 13:4). Much of the Bible is devoted to the subject of love and marriage. Love and marriage at a human level is merely a shadow of something much deeper: love and marriage at a spiritual level. John 3:16, the most popular verse in the Bible, talks about Elohim’s quintessential love for mankind and alludes to this higher spiritual level.
Most people understand that poetry and poetic prose is the language of love, yet few realize that much of the Scripture is poetry (or poetic prose) in Hebraic style. Much of this poetic style is lost in the translation from Hebrew into other languages like English. For example, all the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes and most of the writings of the Hebrew prophets are written in a poetic style. Many of the psalms were actually lyrics to praise and worship songs. Moreover, a Hebrew poetic style known as aggadic literature is also found in the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament) in the parables of Yeshua.
Perhaps the greatest love song ever written by man is found in the Scriptures in the Song of Solomon. This poem is a tender and romantic story about the great love between a man and his bride. Many believe this is an allegory about YHVH-Yeshua and his bride, Israel, the body of believers called the saints. In Ephesians 5:21–33, Paul carries this marriage theme to the next level where he writes about the marriage relationship between a husband and wife and how that is a picture of Yeshua and the body of believers (the saints). He then goes on to say in verse 32 that, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Messiah and the church.” The word mystery here in the Greek refers to “secret or hidden things relating to the deep and wise counsel of YHVH which is hidden to ordinary individuals and revealed only to a select or special group of people, in this case, the saints.”
Taking the idea of Yeshua and his bride, the saints to its highest level, John in Revelation 19:9 talks prophetically about the marriage supper of the Lamb and says in verses 7 and 8 that this marriage has come and his wife, the saints who have the testimony of Yeshua and keep his commandments has made herself ready by putting on the clean and white wedding garments which is the righteousness (or righteous deeds) of the saints. These saints will rule and reign with Yeshua the Messiah forever and ever in his kingdom after his return to this earth.
In the Gospels on several occasions, Yeshua alludes to his upcoming marriage to his spiritual bride in typical poetic Hebraic fashion known as aggadic literature. We see this, for example, in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt 25:1–13) and the Parable of the Wedding Banquet (Matt 22:1–14), not to mention the prophetic and allegorical implications found in his first recorded miracle — the changing of the water into wine at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee. This upcoming marriage forms an essential aspect of the good news or gospel of the kingdom message that Yeshua preached. He came to prepare his bride for this wedding by urging her to “repent [of sin] for the kingdom of Elohim is at hand.” His kingdom on this earth will be fully and universally established when, at his second coming, he marries his bride, the spiritual body of believers (called the “one new man” in Eph 2:11–16), who he has redeemed with his blood, and who keep his commandments (Rev 12:17 and 14:12). At this marriage to redeemed Israel, there will be an exchange of vows (in Heb. ketubah), which Scripture refers to as the Renewed (or New) Covenant, which will be a fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jer 31:31 cp. Heb 8:8–13). This will cement a spiritual love relationship between YHVH and his people that will last for eternity as they together dwell in the New Jerusalem, which will be heaven on earth!
The Bible, from Genesis chapter one to the final chapter in the Book of Revelation is a love story that starts in a garden paradise with the Creator and a man and woman and ends in a city-garden and involves an eternal marital relationship between YHVH and his people. The Tabernacle of Moses outlines this story from beginning to end.
The Tabernacle, the Saint, and the Seven Stages of the Biblical Wedding
What follows is our attempt to integrate the seven stages of the biblical wedding with the seven stations in the Tabernacle of Moses in an attempt to show how YHVH’s plan of salvation as revealed in the tabernacle also relates to his plan to marry redeemed Israel (the saints) at his second coming. This is but one possible way to understand this complex subject. As we shall see, the numbers seven and eight figure prominently into this scenario. Seven is the biblical number for perfect completion, while eight is the number for new beginnings or infinity.
0 Intent — in the wilderness: The groom and bride see each other for the first time; interest is sparked, and they begin to “fall” in love. YHVH fell in love with Israel when he saw her lost and abandoned in the wilderness of her existence (Ezek 16:4–14). This process begins in the wilderness outside the courtyard walls of the tabernacle (a metaphorical picture of spiritual salvation, redemption and conversion). Similarly, the believer, while still spiritually lost, prior to his conversion, hears the gospel message being preached (Rom 10:14–18) and is drawn to Yeshua the Savior and Redeemer. Yeshua is the doorway to salvation leading to an eternal spiritual relationship between YHVH and man. This is represented by the four-colored door of the tabernacle or mishkan (picturing the four Gospels).
1 Redemption — the altar of the red heifer: The bride’s price (dowry) is paid to the maiden’s father. Before the young maiden’s father, the young man commits to lay down his life for his prospective bride. This Yeshua did for his spiritual bride when he laid his life down at the cross. The purification ritual involving the death of the red heifer outside of the tabernacle pictures this, and speaks prophetically of Yeshua’s death outside the city of Jerusalem at Golgotha (Heb 13:10–13), which occurred on Passover.
2 Acceptance — the altar of the sacrifice: The young man then presents the maiden with a glass of wine from which he first drinks. If she drinks, she is accepting his proposal of marriage. This is called the cup of acceptance and corresponds to the third cup of the Passover seder (cup of redemption). After she drinks from the cup, the betrothal is legally established. Believers drink of this cup and eat the unleavened bread on the evening portion of Passover (Pesach) on the fifteenth day of the first month, which is on the first high Sabbath and first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The altar of sacrifice inside the tabernacle is a picture of this as is the Christian communion ritual. At this altar, not only were sacrifices made, but barbecued meat was eaten along with unleavened bread that was baked and eaten there and the wine offerings (libations) that were poured on the altar — all prefiguring the communion ritual and the blood and body of Yeshua’s body, which it represented.
3 Set-Apartness (Holiness) — the bronze laver: After the young man’s proposal is accepted and the betrothal is established, he returns to his father’s house to build a house for his betrothed bride. Meanwhile, the bride remains in her father’s home and prepares for her wedding day. She takes a ritual cleansing bath (immersion or mikveh) to signify that she is ritually clean and totally set apart for her groom to the exclusion of all other would be suitors. She has accepted the groom and the terms of the marriage agreement (or ketubah) and now she awaits the return of her bridegroom and her wedding day. For the ancient Israelite, this occurred when they accepted YHVH marriage proposal and covenant terms at Mount Sinai. This is pictured by the bronze laver in the tabernacle where the priests were ritually cleansed, and is a prophetic picture of baptism for the remission of sins in the new believer’s life (Rom 6:3–6). Water is a metaphorical Hebraism for of the Word of Elohim (Eph 5:26), which is the believer’s marriage agreement or ketubah, which they promise to obey. The last high Sabbath or seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzot) pictures this, for it was then that Israel was immersed in the Red Sea (1 Cor 10:2, a picture of baptism and spiritual cleansing) after having removed leavening (a picture of repentance from sin) from their homes.
4 Separation and Consecration — the menorah: After cleansing herself, the betrothed bride prepares for the return of the groom from his father’s house. While the groom is away building their marital home (or “mansion”), the bride lives a set-apart or consecrated life by keeping herself away from any other lovers. When the children of Israel accepted YHVH’s marital covenant terms at Mount Sinai, she vowed to be faithful only to him and to reject all idolatrous ways, and to walk in faithful obedience to the light of his Torah. In the tabernacle, the menorah is a picture of the spiritual light of YHVH’s Torah-truth and the Spirit of Elohim, which leads us into all truth. When a believer has the Torah written on his heart by the Holy Spirit and walks in the light of the YHVH’s Torah-truth, he will not only love Yeshua by obeying his Torah commandments (John 14:15), but will evidence the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are the outward evidence of a Spirit-led life of loving Elohim and one’s neighbor. The menorah relates to the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot)or Pentecost when, in Acts 2, the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and had YHVH’s law of love written on their hearts. This resulted in the fruits and gifts of the Spirit being manifested as a light to the nations attracting those on the outside to the message of the gospel.
5 Preparation, Regathering and Reunion — the table of showbread: The groom has now finished building his “mansion” for his bride. Meanwhile, the bride dons her wedding robes, fills her lamp with oil, stays awake through the night awaiting her bridegroom’s return. At this time the groom leaves his father’s house and goes out to meet his bride. This is pictured in the tabernacle by the table of showbread (or the table of the presence or face of YHVH) upon which are twelve loaves of unleavened bread picturing the twelve tribes of Israel in a sin-free (righteous) and united state, who are presenting themselves before YHVH. In the annual feast day (moedim) cycle, this is pictured by the Day of Trumpets or Shofar Blasts (Yom Teruah). Yeshua’s Parable of the Ten Virgins is a poetic picture of this. Some of the virgins prepared for the bridegroom, while other didn’t. All fell asleep while waiting. Now the call is going forth for all redeemed Israelite believers to awake out of spiritual slumber, to regather and to prepare to meet Yeshua the Messiah, her Groom whose coming is imminent. Yom Teruah is a picture of this momentous and long-awaited occurrence called the resurrection of the righteous dead who, at that moment, will receive their glorified bodies and will meet Yeshua in the air at his second coming.
6 The Return of the Wedding Party to the Bridegroom’s House — the altar of incense: At this time the wedding party makes final preparations to return to the father’s house where the marriage feast will occur and married life will start. Also at this time Yeshua, the Groom, at his second coming will judge and destroy all counterfeit or would-be persecutors of and contenders for his bride along with all would-be or false brides and counterfeit religious systems. Some of the trumpets and the bowl judgments in the Book of Revelation seem to relate to this time period. To mark this momentous event, the final or great jubilee shofar will sound marking the fall of Babylon the Great and the release of its spiritual captives. The altar of incense and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) prophetically picture this event marking the end of what is called in Jewish thought “the final redemption.”
7 The Consummation of the Marriage and the Wedding Feast — the ark of the covenant: The young couple now returns to the father’s house to the marriage “mansion” the young groom has constructed for his new bride. It is there that the marriage is consummated, the couple begin living together and the wedding feast occurs. The holy of holies (kadosh hakadoshim) at the ark of the covenant is a prophetic picture of this, and points us to the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), which is a 1000-year long celebration referred to as the Millennium or Messianic Age. During this time, Yeshua the Bridegroom will rule over this earth as King of kings along with his wife, the glorified bride of Yeshua.
8 Life Happily Ever After — the glory cloud over the ark: The young couple starts married life together. Yeshua and his bride will live together in their new home — the paradise garden city of the New Jerusalem forever (in Heb. the Olam Haba). The Eighth Day (Shemeni Atzeret), which is the seventh of YHVH’s seven annual appointed times (moedim), pictures this. The glory cloud (shekinah) above the ark of the covenant in the tabernacles is a picture of the glory of the New Jerusalem when heaven and earth unite and YHVH lives with his redeemed and glorified people (or bride) forever.
The Seven Steps in the Tabernacle & the Biblical Feasts
As noted above, the numbers seven and eight figure prominently in the Tabernacle of Moses, as well as the rest of the Bible. Seven is the biblical number for perfect completion, while eight is the number for new beginnings and infinity. Let’s explore this concept as we step into the Tabernacle of Moses once again for another look from a different perspective.
Another Tour of the tabernacle, But in More detail.
Let’s take another tour of the tabernacle, but this time let’s add a new dimension: YHVH’s seven annual appointed times or festivals in light of the seven steps of redemption. Multiple visits to the tabernacle are necessary, for like a world class museum or an ornate and opulently decorated palace, it is impossible to absorb the fullness of the tabernacle on one’s first tour.
1 First Step of Eight — the red heifer altar: Before spiritual conversion, one is in a state of separation from his Creator because of sin. When the gospel is preached, one hears the good news of the gospel message, and sees the light of the truth, the message of the cross, all of which are symbolized by the multi-colored door and the luminescent walls of the tabernacle. At this point, one must choose to remain where he is — lost in his spiritual wilderness, or move forward into the spiritual light of the truth that will lead him out of that wilderness. As one takes his first steps to become separated or set-apart from the confusion, darkness, chaos, emptiness, lostness and death of the world, one first encounters the altar of the red heifer located outside the tabernacle (in later years located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem opposite the temple, Mishnah Parah 1:1ff). There the red heifer was slaughtered and burned and its ashes were used as a sin offering to bring about purification for uncleanness (Num 19:1ff). Yeshua was likewise crucified outside of the camp of Israel and the gates of Jerusalem (Heb 13:10–13). This altar represents the work of Yeshua at the cross. One cannot enter the tabernacle until one has been redeemed and purified by the blood of Yeshua. Even the Israelites killed the Passover lamb outside their homes on the afternoon of the fourteenth of the month of Abib. The blood was then smeared on the doors of their homes. Once they entered the blood-smeared doors and were inside their homes they were safe from the destroyer who simply passed over them. Likewise, when we enter through the gates of the tabernacle (which are crimson in color, as well as blue, white and purple — colors which point to the four Gospels and the four aspects of Yeshua’s mission as Redeemer) we do so in a saved and purified state. Even the priests weren’t allowed to enter the tabernacle unless in a ritually pure state. This is a picture of Passover (Pesach), which is the first of YHVH’s seven annual appointed times (or moedim).
2 Second Step of Eight/First Step of Seven — the altar of sacrifice: Upon entering the tabernacle one immediately comes to the altar of sacrifice. After the lamb was sacrificed on the afternoon of Passover, that evening (the beginning of the fifteenth day of the first month, which was also the first day and a high Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Hag HaMatzot), the Israelites ate the Passover lamb. At the altar of sacrifice the Levites would eat those animals sacrificed there. This pictures the fact that the saved believer must continue to “eat the flesh” and “drink the blood” (metaphorically) of Yeshua to stay in communion with him (John 6:35–58), and that when one sins after one is saved one must continue in a state of repentance and keep overcoming sin through the blood of the Lamb (1 John 1:7–9). On Passover evening, one not only ate lamb, but unleavened bread, as well, after having put all leavened bread out of one’s home. This pictures the believer walking forward spiritually putting sin out of one’s life. To the degree one eliminates sin from one’s life is the degree one has communion with our Father in heaven. Therefore, the altar of sacrifice in the tabernacle is a picture of the Passover meal and the first high Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
3 Third Step of Eight/Second Step of Seven — the bronze laver: At the bronze laver one ritually washed in preparation for entering into service in the sanctuary. This represents a new believer being baptized for the remission of sins, being washed in the water of the Word of Elohim (Eph 5:26) and receiving the Set-Apart Spirit of Elohim. This corresponds with the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea and being baptized unto Moses who was a foreshadow type of Yeshua (1 Cor 10:2). This occurred during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and most likely on the last high Sabbath of that week-long festival.
4 Fourth Step of Eight/Third Step of Seven — the menorah: The next step takes one to the menorah where the light of the Spirit of Elohim shines in the hearts and minds of men. Here a person’s life becomes fruitful spiritual ground as evidenced through the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–25), and he can also become empowered to reach a lost world by the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:1–11). Once one is separated, redeemed, washed and transformed by the Word and Spirit, and is walking in the light of YHVH’s Torah-truth, one becomes a spiritual light shining into the spiritual darkness of this world. Humans are the lesser light (as represented by the moon) reflecting the greater light of the Yeshua, who is the Torah-Word of Elohim incarnate (John 1:1–14). He is like the sun, which is the source of light (spiritual truth). In fact, the prophet Malachi refers to the coming Messiah as the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2). The prophetic implications of the menorah and what it represented spiritually was fulfilled on the Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot) in Acts chapter two. On that day, the fire of YHVH came down and lit the human menorahs in the upper room with the power of his Holy Spirit while writing his Torah-word in their hearts. This divine encounter launched these early believers to take the spiritual light of Yeshua, the Living Word, to a dark spiritual world in Spirit and power.
5 Fifth Step of Eight/Fourth Step of Seven — the table of showbread: Yeshua’s people next must prepare themselves to meet him at his second coming at the end of the age. At this time there occurs a great spiritual awakening culminating in regathering and reunion of the scattered twelve tribes of Israel around Yeshua, the Bread of Life. Numerous Hebrew biblical prophets spoke of this awesome day. This end time event is represented in the tabernacle by the table of showbread with the twelve loaves of unleavened bread symbolizing the regathering of the twelve tribes of Israel from the nations of the world where they have been scattered. This is all pictured prophetically by the Day of Trumpets or Shouting (Yom Teruah). As discussed elsewhere in this article, we believe that the table of showbread and Day of Trumpets prophetically pictures the resurrection of the righteous redeemed Israelite believers to meet Yeshua in the airs at his second coming.
6 Sixth Step of Eight/Fifth Step of Seven — the altar of incense: At this step the focus is on intimacy as Yeshua’s saints are resurrected and united with him. It is a time of intercession, purity of heart, oneness and relationship with the Father through prayer, praise and worship. This speaks of the final redemption (jubilee) where YHVH’s people will be regathered to worship him in total freedom without the distractions of the world, flesh and the devil (who have been judged and destroyed at Yeshua’s second coming). The altar of incense and Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) are pictures of this. This altar sits just outside the veil separating the holy place of the tabernacle from the holy of holies.
7 Seventh Step of Eight/Sixth Step of Seven — the ark of the covenant: The ark resides inside the holy of holies, a picture of the throne room of Elohim and the place of ultimate intimacy and oneness occurring between YHVH and his people, redeemed Israel. This step speaks of total peace (shalom) and Sabbath rest that will occur during the Millennium or Messianic Era between YHVH and his beloved saints, the bride of Yeshua. It is a time of feasting and rejoicing; a time of Torah, spiritual bread and fruitfulness. The ark of the covenant and the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) picture this step.
8 Eighth Step of Eight (Eternity Begins)/Seventh Step of Seven (Perfection or Completion) — the glory cloud: This final step pictures YHVH’s resurrected and gloried saints (redeemed Israel) being totally set-apart to YHVH for eternity. At this point the saints experience the ultimate deliverance from darkness and being bathed in the divine and eternal light of New Jerusalem: the Sun of Righteousness who is the Lamb of YHVH in whom there is total light and no shadows. The shekinah glory above the ark of the covenant speaks to this glorious time of which the seventh feast, The Eighth Day (Shemini Atzeret) is a prophetic shadow-picture. There are seven appointed times and seven steps in the mishkan, but eight steps in all picturing perfection and completion and new beginning in the New Heaven, New Earth and New Jerusalem.
While the scenario we’ve presented above clearly doesn’t answer all the questions one may have, or address every detail, hopefully it is a step in the right direction of further understanding in the fullest possible way YHVH’s glorious plan of redemption. As we gain more understanding on this important subject, we will pass it along.