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The Tabernacle

The Tabernacle building and its furnishings.
Contributed by Rev. Yves Langevin
God gave Moses the instructions to build a Tabernacle. Tabernacle means ‘tent,’ or ‘sanctuary.’ It was a sacred place where God met His people, the Israelites and where they came to worship and offer sacrifices. God appeared as a pillar of cloud over the tabernacle by day and a pillar of fire by night. – Slide 1
The whole compound was 150ft (46m) long and 75ft (23m) wide. It was surrounded by a linen fence that was 7.5ft (2.3m) high with only one entrance. It had sixty bronze pillars with hooks of silver that supported the fine twined white linen. – Slide 2
The only entrance was on the east side and was 30ft (9.1m) wide. It was beautifully made of linen woven with blue, purple and scarlet thread. – Slide 3
The curtain across the entrance was supported by four bronze pillars. – Slide 4
The brazen altar for sacrifice was situated inside the courtyard. It was made of wood from the acacia tree and overlaid with bronze. – Slide 5
The altar was 7.5ft (3.3m) square and 4.5ft high (1.4m). Four horns projected from the top four corners and animals being sacrificed were put on a bronze grating inside. It was carried with long wooden poles covered with bronze. The brazen altar was continuously burning. – Slide 6
The laver, or basin, was a large bowl filled with water located halfway between the brazen and the Holy Place. – Slide 7
The laver was made entirely of bronze. The priests washed their hands and their feet in it before entering the Holy Place. – Slide 8
The Tabernacle itself had four coverings. The first covering consisted of finely twisted linen, woven together with blue, purple and scarlet material. – Slide 9
Over this first tent covering there was a slightly larger covering made of goats’ hair. – Slide 10
The third covering was of ram skins dyed red. It was the first of the two weatherproof coverings. – Slide 11
The last covering was made of waterproof badger skins. – Slide 12
There were two sections to the tabernacle tent. The first was the Holy Place. The entrance was through a curtain behind five gold pillars. – Slide 13
Behind the Holy Place was the Holy of Holies. Entrance to this most sacred place was through a curtain known as the veil. This veil was made of fine linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn with figures of angels embroidered onto it. – Slide 14
Under these four coverings and supporting these curtains, the walls of the tabernacle were made out of boards of acacia wood overlaid with gold. – Slide 15
The Holy Place measured 30ft (9m) x 15ft (4.5m). Separated by a veil at the rear of the Holy Place was the most sacred Holy of Holies. This room was a perfect cube - its length, width and height were all equal to 15 feet (4.5m). – Slide 16
Each board making up the Holy Place and Holy of Holies was 17ft (5.2m) tall and 2.5ft (0.76m) wide. These boards were placed into 100 silver sockets sunk into the ground. Horizontal bars of wood covered with gold were threaded through gold rings on the boards to hold the structure together. – Slide 17
The menorah, or ‘golden lampstand’ stood at the left side of the Holy Place. It was hammered out of one piece of pure gold. The lampstand had seven branches, each designed like an almond tree, containing buds, blossoms and flowers. Seven lamps holding olive oil and wicks stood on top of the branches. The priests were instructed to keep the lamps burning continuously. – Slide 18
The table of showbread was a small table made of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold. It stood on the right side of the Holy Place across from the lampstand and held 12 loaves of bread, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. – Slide 19
The golden altar of incense was made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. Four horns protruded from the four corners of the altar. God commanded the priests to burn incense on the golden altar every morning and evening. The incense was to be left burning continually throughout the day and night as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. The incense was made of an equal part of four precious spices: stacte, onycha, galbanum and frankincense. – Slide 20
The priests wore white linen garments held together with a sash or girdle made woven fine linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn (the same as the veil). The high priest wore the ephod, breastpiece, robe and turban over white linen undergarments. – Slide 21
The priests could enter the Holy Place to carry out their duties but only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of atonement. – Slide 22
The Holy of Holies had one piece of furniture, the Ark of the Covenant. – Slide 23
The Ark of the Covenant had an atonement cover (or ‘mercy seat’) on top of it. It was made of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold inside and out. On top of the cover stood two cherubim (angels) at the two ends, facing each other. Their outstretched wings covered the atonement cover. – Slide 24
Inside the Ark of the Covenant were three objects, a pot of manna, the staff of Aaron that had budded and the stones with the ten commandments. – Slide 25
The Israelites camped around the tabernacle in their 12 tribes. – Slide 26
This slide can be used to enter the name of the tribes in other languages. – Slide 27
Inside this ring of tribes, Moses and Aaron and his sons had their tents in front of the Tabernacle entrance. The three family groups of the Levites Merrari, Gershon and Kohath had their tents on the other three sides. – Slide 28
This slide can be used to enter the name of the tribes in other languages. – Slide 29
This slides shows which branches of the Levite family were responsible for packing up the tabernacle and its furniture, then carrying it and assembling it again as the Israelites travelled. – Slide 30
This slide can be used to enter the name of the Levite families in other languages. – Slide 31
Slide 32