Welcome to our brand new series of Bible studies entitled “Shadows of Calvary – Exploring the Tabernacle”. Throughout this series we will look into the Old Testament, and primarily the book of Exodus, to study the tabernacle which God had Israel construct. We will look at the purpose of the tabernacle in the time of Moses as well as it’s prophetic qualities and what it means to us today. As we delve into this study we will see that the tabernacle was designed to teach Israel and us about Jesus Christ and God’s plan for redemption.
Why Study the Tabernacle?
In the book of Hebrews, Paul speaks extensively about the tabernacle. Look up:
• Hebrews 9:8. In this verse Paul is referring to the veil that separated the two rooms of the tabernacle. He cred its the Holy Spirit with the plan for the construction, Q. What was the Holy Spirit doing by this design?
• Hebrews 9:9. What was the tabernacle for the “time then present”?
• Hebrews 9:24. What were the “holy places made with hands”?
• Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a _________________ of good things _________________, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
What does the use of the words signifying, figures, and shadows in describing the tabernacle tell you about God’s plan for this structure?
It has been said that the Old Testament is the “New Testament concealed”, and the New Testament is the “Old Testament revealed”. Now, having the revelation of the New Testament we can look back and understand the marvelous picture and prophecy that the tabernacle was! Here in Hebrews we see that the Old Testament tabernacle was rich with meaning and actually foreshadowed better things to come. It had a real purpose in the time of Moses, but primarily looked forward to what God would one day do for us through Jesus Christ.
Studying the tabernacle is really a study of the character of God, the study of salvation through his Son, and the study of man’s inability to redeem himself. For this reason, a study of the tabernacle is both relevant and practical for us to undertake today!
The Tabernacle – The Centerpiece of A Covenant
To understand the tabernacle, we must also understand the covenant that God made with the patriarch Abraham, and ultimately all of Israel. Lets look at an excerpt from Lesson #8, in our series “All About Jesus”, in order to understand this covenant:
• Gen 17:7. The covenant which God made with Abraham was an _____________________ covenant. One aspect of this covenant is that He would be a _________ unto Abraham. God promised Abraham that this covenant would pass from him to his next generation and so on. It was an everlasting covenant.
Jacob and his sons eventually settled in Egypt while Joseph was second in command. Sometime after Joseph’s death, a new Pharaoh assumed power who did not know Joseph (Ex 1:8), the children of Jacob began to be oppressed and enslaved. At this time it is quite possible that the number of descendants of Jacob had reached over two million.
In • Exodus 2:24 we read about this oppression: And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his __________________ with _____________, with _____________, and with __________.
It was the covenant which God made with Joseph’s great-grandfather Abraham that caused God to bring the children of Israel (Jacob) out of Egypt.
In the process of claiming Israel out of Egypt, God performed many miracles, first the ten plagues in Egypt, and then his miraculous provision for them in the wilderness.
Look up • Exodus 8:9,10 where God performs the miracle of the frogs in Egypt, and Exodus 16:12 where God provides food for Israel miraculously. Q. According to these verses what was the purpose of these miracles?
Look up • Exodus 20:20. Q. What did God want to be “before” the Israelites? For what purpose?
Before God confirmed his covenant with Israel he allowed them to see his matchless power. He wanted them to understand that He is the very God of Heaven, Holy and all-powerful. This is the process that God used to call out his people and to prepare them for His covenant.
• Alternate reading Exodus 6:1-8. Q. According to verse 7, what are three aspects of the covenant that God would make with Israel?
Unlike any other nation, Israel would be claimed as God’s people.
• Exodus 19:5,6. Q. What was required from Israel as a part of God’s covenant?
Q. What would they then be unto God?
Now, lets look at the greatest aspect of this covenant:
• Exodus 25:8. Q. What did God ask Israel to make? For what reason?
Part of God’s promise that “I will be to you a God”, was that he would actually dwell in the midst of Israel. This is where we find the purpose of the tabernacle. It would be the place where the God of heaven, would meet with men on earth, in order to be a God to them, and they a people to Him.
The tabernacle was the centerpiece of this covenant. It was designed so as to allow sinful humanity to be able to commune with a Holy God. The tabernacle was the place where sacrifices were offered for sin and where God’s forgiveness was obtained.
The Structure of the Tabernacle
On the following page you will find a basic diagram of the tabernacle. Look up the passages indicated and label each part of the tabernacle. Write a few words of description under each line.
1. Exodus 25:17-22 ________________&__________________
2. Exodus 26:31-33 ____________________________________
3. Exodus 26:31-33 ____________________________________
4. Exodus 30:1-6 ______________________________________
5. Exodus 25:23-30 ____________________________________
6. Exodus 25:31-40 ____________________________________
7. Exodus 27:14-16 ____________________________________
8. Exodus 30:18-21 ____________________________________
9. Exodus 27:1-8 ______________________________________
10. Exodus 27:9-19 _____________________________________