Here is an article I read recently about the Tabernacle. It’s amazing. Take the tour and soak it in.
“Travel backward in time with me 3,500 years, and I will take you into one of the most awe-inspiring buildings this world has ever seen. It is no skyscraper–fifteen feet tall it stands, barely a story and a half. It has no glistening windows, no resplendent dome, no paintings like modern cathedrals. From the outside, it is actually drab, a tentlike structure covered over with skins, bleached nearly white by the hot sun.
“It is the Old Testament tabernacle in the Sinai desert, 1,490 years before the time of Christ.
“Let’s walk (without being Jews we would never have been allowed) through the curtained gate at the eastern end of the courtyard. Directly ahead of us is a large bronze altar, seven and a half feet square. Silent smoke rises in perpetual appeasement. Priests in white linen clothing solemnly perform their rituals about the altar, listening to the hushed confessions and requests of the people who come to sacrifice– a lamb, a goat, a young bull, or a pair of doves. There is a quietness in the air. The people talk quietly, the priests move quietly, the animals die quietly. One could easily pray here. Beyond the altar is a large bronze container of water–the laver–where the priests wash in unhurried reverence before and after every task. And beyond the laver stand the sun-bleached tabernacle.
“We slip past the washing priests and stand before the “door”– the curtain entrance to the tabernacle. Unlike the covering over the tabernacle, this curtain is richly colored–blue, purple, and scarlet intertwined on a white linen background–the first hint of the fabulous beauty inside. Only priests are permitted beyond this door, and only for special tasks. As we pause gazing at the folds of this hanging, an even deeper solemnity descends upon us.
“Soundlessly, we pull back the door hanging, step inside, and slowly walk forward. The change from the sense of being outside to the sense of being inside is instantaneous. Gone is the harsh sunlight. Gone is the sky. Gone is the scrubby desert growth. Gone is the world of people with their sowing and reaping, business and commerce, sweat and toil, talk and haste. That world is outside. We have stepped into another world.
“The fifteen-foot walls stretch ahead of us on either side, thirty feet of glistening gold until they disappear into the next room. One our right is a golden table, handsomely garnished with border and decorative ledges. The table is furnished with twelve large loaves of bread, a pitcher of frankincense, twelve golden spoons, and various golden trays and dishes. To our left is a lampstand, elaborately fashioned with a central shaft and six branches, three on a side-seven up-reaching arms delicately ornamented with golden flowers and fruit, ending with seven lamps, one magnificent piece of craftsmanship, solid gold. The light from the lamps leaps upward and radiates off the walls and furniture like rays of living sunshine.
“Overhead is a covering of the same material as the door hanging–white linen with blue, purple, and scarlet interwoven. Our eyes drop again, and directly ahead is a third piece of furniture, a golden altar, again decorated with a border and ledges. On the table, incense is glowing. These is a hallowed glory in the very aroma of this room.
“Behind the altar stand four stalwart pillars, each of them fifteen feet of shining gold from head to toe. Hanging behind the four pillars is the Veil, thick fold upon fold. It is the same color as the door hanging and the overhead canopy, but richer in appearance and intricately woven with cherubim. It hands, hushed and watchful.
“Looking at that Veil, we suddenly realize that the holiness we sensed in coming in, cutting us off from the world outside, is a holiness emanating from behind the Veil. This is a place of Presence. The Veil is not there to keep us out so much as to protect us, to give us a shield, a covering from the Most Holy, the Holiest of Holies, Who resides in the heart of this tabernacle. The more we sense that, the more thin the Veil seems, a bare scrap of protection before Omnipotent Holiness.
“Our footfalls stop.
“We dare not go behind that Veil to gaze on what is there. What is there is no longer important to us. Any Jew in the camp outside could tell us the ark is there, that it is a gold-plated chest containing two tables of stone, that above it is the mercy seat, a lid of solid gold over which stretch two golden cherubim, that only the high priest ever enters that Most Holy Place, that he enters it only once each year with atoning blood, sprinkling it seven times across the mercy seat eastward.
“But masterpieces of furniture no longer hold our attention, for we realize, standing in the skimpy shadow of the Veil, that the beauty of this place is not in its gold, bot in its intricate weavings, not in the workmanship, not in anything we see. The beauty of the tabernacle is the beauty of the Holiness Himself.
“We stand silent.
“The wheel of time spins.
“A heavier hush descends in this Holy Place.
“Behind us the door curtain opens and a man enters. His body is horribly mangled–blood runs down His face, patches of His beard have been ripped out, deep welts and bruises cover His body, a severe wound in His side seeps blood, He is carrying a cross, His back is running with blood from open lacerations. His breathing is hoarse; the cross scrapes heavily on the floor–the sounds grate upon the atmosphere of this sanctuary.
“The man labors past us, right up to the Veil. It moves aside with an attitude of reverence to let Him in. He drags Himself around to the back of the mercy seat. Before the Veil falls back in place, we catch a glimpse of the Man wiping blood from His own body to being the sevenfold sprinkling. Then the Veil hides Him from our view.
“Suddenly the Veil rends from top to bottom as though the splendor of the Holiness behind has burst it open! Involuntarily, we fall on our faces, but the scene behind the rent Veil is burned on our minds. A throne!—sapphire, rainbow brilliance, wave upon wave of scintillating glory, stretching up from the throne as far as eye can see. A sound!– a clap of thunderous praise like a rushing, mighty ocean, ten thousand times fuller and clearer than the best choir we have ever heard on earth. And the Man!–transfigured, standing before the throne in brilliant white, with glorious joy and invitation on His face, arms extended! One word He speaks: ‘COME!’
“When we open our eyes, there is not tabernacle. There is no bright lights, no loud sounds, no cherubim. We are in the twentieth century. Bit we are not now more convinced that the life we have in our spirit and the hope we cherish in our heart are not products of human imagination?
“These are REALITIES! More real than anything we can touch or see. Our redemption has been planned by the God of Eternity, the One who spans time, and Who, because He is eternal, was able to imprint the Old Testament with exact, precise shadows of spiritual realities in the New Testament.”
GLORY TO GOD FOREVER AND EVER