Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Exodus 26:1-6 The Tabernacle

"Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen
and blue, purple and scarlet yarn,
with cherubim worked into them by a skilled craftsman.
 All the curtains are to be the same size --
twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide.
Join five of the curtains together, and do the same with the other five.
Make loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set,
and do the same with the end curtain in the other set.
Make fifty loops on one curtain
and fifty loops on the end curtain of the other set,
with the loops opposite each other.
Then make fifty gold clasps and use them to fasten the curtains together
so that the tabernacle is a unit."
Exodus 26:1-6 (NIV)

A chapter ago, in Exodus 25:8-9, The LORD had instructed Moses to have the Israelites build a sanctuary for the LORD, according to the pattern which God had revealed to Moses.  Then God would dwell among them. The NIV Study Bible notes on these verses reveal that the word translated 'tabernacle' literally means 'dwelling place'.  The word "almost always signifies the place where God dwells among his people."  In notes on Exodus 26:1, a concise description of the tabernacle is given:
"Its basic structure was to be 15 feet wide by 45 feet long by 15 feet high.
Over an inner lining of embroidered linen (v. 1-6),
it was to have a cover woven of goat hair (v. 7-13)
and two additional coverings of leather,
one made from ram skins dyed red and one from the hides of sea cows (v. 14)."

In the current passage which we are examining (v. 1-6), it describes the inner lining of embroidered linen.  This inner lining was made up of two panels of five curtains each, fastened together at opposing ends with loops of material joined by gold clasps.  In this way, the tabernacle is one unit.
We will take a look at other coverings for the tabernacle.  However, before ending this post, I wanted to say a bit about what this tabernacle meant.  Since God dwelt there, it was a place where heaven and earth symbolically came together.  Man could meet with God, but it had to be on God's terms.  At this point, the full plan of redemption had not yet played out; the people of Israel (and, by extension, mankind in general) were still outside Paradise.  A Messiah had been promised who would restore the relationship between God and Man, but at that time He had not yet come.

What do I mean by that?  Well, I did not write about that part of Scripture yet, where the Fall of Mankind is detailed (Genesis chapter 3), for I started this blog with the intent of tracing the line of Abraham, which begins to be discussed in Genesis 11:26.  At that time I temporarily skipped over the previous chapters of Genesis because I was focusing upon Abraham.

I knew that the previous chapters were crucially important to the whole story of God's dealings with mankind.  Without the details of God as Creator, the Fall of Man, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel, the rest might seem rather puzzling and disjointed.  I figured I would weave discussion of those other chapters in later.  Well, it seems that now is a good time for later, if you know what I mean.

Also, it had been bothering me that I had skipped the earlier parts of Genesis, for I believe all of Scripture is God's Word.  I do not want anyone to think that I regarded those early parts as mere myth.  The exact oppposite is true:  I believe they are true and that they are foundational for our discussion.  However, at that time I didn't want to get bogged down in discussions of evolution vs. creation.   I believe in creation, but at the time I didn't feel ready to write on those matters.  I'm probably still not ready.  However, it is time to take a look at some of those earlier chapters of Genesis.

Actually, how I believe that I will proceed is this:  We will take time to go back and discuss the Fall of Mankind, which is written about in Genesis chapter 3.  Of course, that involves a discussion of Adam and Eve, and where they came from, which brings in Genesis chapters 1 and 2.  I imagine that in the process of doing that, we may also take a run through Genesis 4-11, which includes a whole lot of interesting material.  After that, we will be pretty much up to speed and can continue on with a much better understanding of God's plan of redemption and why the tabernacle is part of that plan. 

At every point, please know that your comments and questions are welcome.  I may not be able to answer all questions, but I have no problem admitting that when it happens.  As far as I am concerned, I am just exploring what God's Word says.  Your insights and observations are most
Now let's go back so that we can go forward.  You know what I mean!   

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