#1  “The Tabernacle” Series




TEXT:         Exodus 19:5-6;   25:8-9;   27:9-19;   John 10:1-10


INTRO:       One of the great concerns of the Old Testament was the tabernacle.  It fills many pages of Scripture ... and many chapters within the book of Exodus.  It was one of monumental items in the Old Testament ... and a source of great teaching about God and His relationship to man.  We are going to spend several messages in this series looking into the Tabernacle to discover God's message to Israel and to us today!  There was nothing about the tabernacle that was without meaning ... every part was a mini sermon to God's people ... then and now!


We will begin at the entrance ... a very good place to start!


Today there are many religions within many cultures, most of those religions have accepted Jesus Christ as a historical figure ... most even go so far as to declare Jesus as special; as "prophet," "great teacher," a "good man," or even as an "enlightened Holy man."  Many of the great religions have placed Jesus in the "GOOD CAMP."  They do this of course while at the same time declaring that there are many roads to God ... yet their view of Jesus doesn't square with what Jesus taught.  Jesus clearly stated that He was the ONLY DOOR to God ... if other religions call Him a prophet then they clearly agree that He speaks God's truth ... yet they completely contradict His teaching!  In fact, they actually would say His view on how to reach God is completely wrong ... that it is crazy, that it is not true, that it is narrow-minded; BUT YET THEY CONTINUE TO SAY JESUS IS A PROPHET AND WONDERFUL!


PROP. SENT:    Jesus isn't the only one that proclaimed He is the only way to God, the Father in the Old Testament made the same statement ... through the TABERNACLE!  God has always proclaimed that there is a single door to finding Him, the only question remains with us; will we enter THIS ONLY DOOR?


I.   EXPLANATION     Ex. 19:5-6;   25:8-9


A.   Distinctive     Ex. 19:5-6

1.   What was the reason God wanted Moses and His people to build a tabernacle?

a.   God was unfolding His plan of salvation ... for all ages.

b.   He would use this building to reveal something about His love and the way to God.

2.   The Pre-covenant stage God had clearly stated, "I WILL BE YOUR GOD"...

3.   But now during the covenant stage God had added something, "I WILL BE YOUR GOD AND YOU WILL BE MY PEOPLE!"

a.   God wanted a distinctive people.

b.   In fact in this passage the phrase in the NIV "TREASURED POSSESSION" (19: 5b) (The KJV translates this phrase, "PECULIAR TREASURE") is the Hebrew word, "SEGULLAH" meaning “MOVEABLE treasure.”

c.   The Hebrew term thus already hints at the tabernacle being a moveable building that would be the place for God's dwelling.

4.   Even the camping arrangement of Israel demonstrated the distinctive role of God among His people.  (3 tribes on each side with the Tabernacle in the middle, the form of a cross! – ready to pick up and transport at a moment’s notice)

a.   Rameses II, the probable Pharaoh Moses confronted had also used this kind of arrangement when the Egyptian army camped ... they would put the King's tent in the center with the troops camped around Pharaoh – he presented himself as god.

b.   The uniqueness of Israel was that it recognized God as the King ... not Moses!  Though Moses and Aaron camped near the entrance it was God alone that held center stage, Moses’ tent was not at center, only the tabernacle with God’s presence sat center stage!


B.   Dwelling     Ex. 25:8-9

1.   God's reason given for the tabernacle is clearly stated, God desired to dwell with His people, He didn't desire a distant relationship with His people, He would be present with them!

2.   This was God's desire ... and it was God's design!

3.   Interesting enough the tabernacle's design is given backwards starting from the inside out ... from the Holy of Holies to the entrance of the courtyard.  This clearly reflects that it was God moving toward man that was at the heart of the building program.  God was moving toward them!

a.   God is not interested in a distant relationship with us!

b.   God desires closeness with us; He desires access to us and for us to have quick access to Him!

c.   He is not just some God way out there ... He has come close!


II.  EDUCATION    Ex. 27:9-19


A.   Design      Ex. 27:9-19

1.   We will examine the tabernacle and it's furnishings from our starting point ... at the entrance.

2.   The entire design of the tabernacle and all its furnishings ... including the materials used have educational dynamics to them ... they are instructive about God's plan of salvation for man!

3.   The starting point for man was the entrance.

a.   The first thing we note is that there is only a single entrance ... one way in, one way out... the eastern gate!

b.   It faced east to symbolize the coming of light ... indeed, Jesus as the door is also the “light of the world!”

c.   The outer wall made of white linen cloth stood about 7˝ feet tall ... just tall enough not to see over ... held up by poles on brass or bronze bases.

d.   In fact almost all the metal parts outside the tabernacle itself were made of bronze ... always symbolic of judgment in Scripture ... the inside choice of metal was gold ... the symbol of royalty.  Even this was significant, outside was judgment, and inside was God’s presence, His royalty.

e.   The reason for the outer wall enclosing a courtyard was to separate a distinct area that was set apart for the sacred, Holy ground so to speak.

f.    This would enable Israel to understand the need to separate from this world; God was not to be confused with the objects of this world.

g.   The entrance itself was about 30 feet wide, the width of the entire east side was 75 feet.

h.   The curtain for this entrance was made of cloth in four colors:

(1.   Blue -- symbol of heaven

(2.   Purple -- symbol of Royalty

(3.   Scarlet -- symbol of sacrifice, or blood offering

(4.   White -- symbol of purity

i.    Even the tent pegs used to hold the walls in place were made of brass, a symbol of judgment.


B.   Didactic     Ex. 27:9-19

1.   As said, all things pertaining to this tabernacle, even the courtyard and outer wall were intended to teach us about God and His desire to save us.

2.   Great truths about the entrance:

a.   As stated already, everything metal outside the tabernacle was made mostly of bronze ... a symbol of judgment.  As one approached the entrance therefore he was confronted with the reality of judgment ... until he got inside!

b.   The single entrance, no other way in, and no other way out!  This truth be­comes obvious in Jesus' teaching concerning Himself, "No one comes to the Father except through me!"  It is also true in Jesus’ statement about Himself being the “door.”

c.   The entrance was not made of a huge wooden door that could be locked ... the entrance allowed people in whenever they wanted, day or night, whenever!

d.   God has made entrance possible at any time; all you have to do is come!

e.   The white linen clothe that was the wall around this courtyard immediately reminded the Israelites that within was purity ... white was the symbol of cleansing and purity.  Approaching God meant purity.

f.    Even the fact that this tabernacle area was at the center of Israel's camping meant that God desired to be the center of their lives!

3.   Why only a single entrance?

a.   To simplify the way in!

b.   Man makes salvation so complicated ... we have more religious regulations.

c.   And many religions on the planet ... some of which teach good moral things.

d.   No matter how wonderful a religion is however or how many good things result from those religions they all still fall short of entering into a re­lationship with God ... to do this we must come through one single gate -- JESUS!


ILLUS:      All religions of this earth, even those that teach good things still fall short of saving people ... like the fire several years ago in the WINECOFF HOTEL in Atlanta Georgia.  Though a modern fire station was only 2 blocks from the hotel more than 100 lost their lives, the reason:  the personNEl were well trained, but the equipment was inadequate ... the ladders were too short to reach the people on the upper floors, many PLUMMETED to their deaths or perished on the BALCONIES overcome by fire AND smoke.  The intentions were good ... good people worked there, the desire was right ... it was the system that was inadequate ... and so it is with all "good" religions, many of the people are sincere ... but their systems are inadequate to save! – SOURCE UNKNOWN


4.   There was one entrance ... for rich, for poor, for powerful, for lowly estate, rank and riches meant nothing ... entrance was the same for all!

5.   The entrance was always open as long as the person was alive ... once dead they could not enter ... the only death allowed in the courtyard and tabernacle was the sacrificial animal.

a.   Thus we must choose to enter while we live, no salvation opportunities exist after death if we neglect the only way in while we live, it is now through Jesus.

b.   Jesus is the sacrifice for our sins ... He Himself shed His blood to make possible our entrance!

6.   The entrance was clearly visible ... it was obvious in that it stood out by the colors from the rest of the white curtains ... it was NOT hard to see the entrance!

a.   The only way to miss it was to NOT look for it ... or to avoid it on purpose, or …

b.   Look for it in the wrong place!


ILLUS:     In the Sahara Desert there are 2 large stones that mark where a tragedy occurred.  A wealthy Egyptian merchant paid his camel driver around $25,000 for a mouthful of water; however they both died of thirst ... only several hundred feet from where they died was a well that could have saved them ... they just didn't see it and thus perished!  They looked to each other FOR SALVATION and missed the source NEARBY! – SOURCE UNKNOWN


III.  ENTRANCE    Jn. 10:1-10


A.   Door     Jn. 10:1-6

1.   Why take my word for this single entrance ... let Jesus speak for Himself!

a.   Jesus speaks clearly and definitively about the way in!

b.   While others may claim to be the Shepherd ... and claim to have a "WAY IN"... they will all prove to be false shepherds and their way in will lead to death!

2.   Jesus very clearly describes that until He comes again there will be many others who will claim to have another entrance to God, many religions will come and go but in the end they will all prove false!

a.   Can you take a chance like this for eternity?  Can you afford to try some other route to God other than that of Christ?

b.   It is a huge gamble, you are "PUTTING YOUR ETERNAL LIFE ON THE LINE!"

3.   Even the disciples had a hard time understanding how direct Jesus was being concerning Himself as the only true Shepherd, the only entrance to God!

a.   Jesus clearly identifies all other sources as leading to peril.

b.   No other way in is legitimate other than through the Shepherd, Jesus!


ILLUS:      In January, 1985 a large suitcase lay unclaimed and unmarked at customs in the Los Angeles International Airport.  When custom officials opened the suitcase they found the curled up body of an unidentified young woman.  She had been dead a few days already ... apparently she decided she would enter the U.S. without going through the proper channels and it cost her her life.  like people today, they think they will enter heaven in some way, even though it isn't by the proper channels, Jesus Christ ... but what awaits them is death, spiritual death, not life!  Even if the young woman would have survived the trip into the U.S. she would have been considered an "ILLEGAL ALIEN" and would have been deported!  While some PEOPLE may seem to survive another route to God outside of Christ they will find that when theY come before the throne of God He will simply have to "DEPORT" them as illegal aliens ... they won't be citizens of His Kingdom ... unless they become one through Jesus CHrist! – SOURCE UNKNOWN


B.   Diagnosis    Jn. 10:7-10

1.   Christ's invitation for salvation through Him is not to make your life worse or to take away the joy of life ... quite the opposite!

a.   It is to give you life that is abundant!

b.   Most religions in this world do just the opposite ... they gravely restrict life!


ILLUS:     Hara KRISHNA’S shave their heads ... give up everything and chant; Some religions have you walk for miles on your knees, others disfigure their bodies as punishment for their desires, others exact trance-like states of total obedience to man made laws ... some reverence animal life above human life or even sacrifice human life to their gods and goddesses ... some even teach access to God comes through precious gems or mediums.  why settle for a "medium" faith when you can have a "MAXIMUM GOD WITH ABUNDANT LIFE!" – SOURCE UNKNOWN


2.   While man’s religions exact high prices that you have to pay to receive eternal life ... Jesus offers salvation at a price HE PAID!  We just receive it as a gift ... and then on top of that He gives abundant life!

3.   The diagnosis is simple ... why settle for junk just when you can have the genuine!

4.   Why try a door that goes to nowhere except Hell when you can take DOOR #1 that goes to heaven!  “LET'S MAKE A DEAL!” ... accept the winning door!

a.   The path to God has been made simple ... a single entrance!

b.   And the cost has already been paid in Christ... all who enter can!

c.   Why settle for less ... when you can have it all!

5.   You won't find another door that leads to eternal life with God ... all the rest lead to a lake of fire ... don't hesitate while you can to enter in!


CONCLUSION:   Many of the world's religions accept Jesus as a great man or a great teacher ... some even accept Jesus as a great prophet!  Yet, they also declare that there are many routes to God.  Jesus, however clearly stated He was the only way to God … thus contradicting their view of Jesus as just a great prophet ... for if He was a great prophet then they should accept His words as that of a great prophet.  But, while they say Jesus is GOOD, they say that what He says is BAD!  Jesus IS the only entrance ... wandering through any other will only lead to Hell, be sure to pick the right door, pick door #1!