Most discussions of Moses Tabernacle centre round its form and furniture.

What I am trying to do here is bring the Tabernacle to life by illustrating what it may have been like for an ordinary person of the times to visit.

Let's join our friend now!













The full background to this teaching is available online at this link
Full Background Information on Moses Tabernacle here



Online links to scriptures (New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise stated) are shown in blue




Let’s wander back in time - a mere 3,500 years - to the days shortly after the children of Israel had entered the Promised Land, having spent 40 long years in the Sinai Desert. No trouble to us! We don’t need a time machine, only an imagination. Much cheaper and less high tech! More likely to work too!




You are now a God fearing Israelite of average means, living with your family on a small farm. You wish to repent (Say sorry to God and undertake not to do it again) for offending your neighbour last week when talking to him, well – to be honest - gossiping really, about a mutual acquaintance. You didn’t mean to be offensive at the time, but now realise you shouldn’t have said the things you did. Having sinned, you really want to make a Sin Offering before your Lord. For the Pentateuch, traditionally known as ‘the five-fifths of the law’ (1st 5 books of the bible) has been read many times to you by the priests on the Day of Atonement, and during other festivals over the years. So much so that you now know the main points off by heart!




Conveniently, the home of the Lord, His Tabernacle that Moses built some 50 years ago, is close by, only 5,000 paces or so (4km) down the road. A nice early morning walk before it gets too hot. That way you can beat the crowd, for it is not very big really and the priest gets very busy at times.

The next day, rising at the crack of dawn, you go out to your field, and select the choicest female lamb from your flock for the sacrifice. You do this gladly, full of joy to offer the very best to your God, in the very Tabernacle where His holy presence dwells. Taking the lamb in your arms, you set out as the sun peeks over the horizon, down the road leading to God’s presence. The road is quite dusty, as there hasn’t been much rain lately. For it comes mainly during the change of seasons.




Getting closer, the outside walls gradually materialise from within the early morning haze. With a sigh of relief you see that the majestic cloud of God’s presence is stationary, billowing above the tent itself. You certainly didn’t want to have to pack up and shift, today of all days. From the instructions given to Moses when your father was with him in the desert, you know the exact dimensions - 100x50 cubits. (1 cubit approximately equals ½ metre or yard – 50x25 metres or yards) About a quarter the size of a football field, you automatically estimate. Yes, half the length by half the width seems pretty near. As you get closer, the construction of the walls comes more clearly into focus. No glasses to correct short or long sightedness in those days! You see that they are made of a strong linen material, just too tall to look over at 5 cubits high. (2½ metres or yards) Some kids are nearby who, kids being kids, peak underneath. They are quickly given the message, by one of the Levites on duty inside, to move away before getting into serious trouble.

The linen curtains, yellowing slightly now after years of battling the harsh desert elements, are hung 1 cubit above the ground, between posts, pegged back on stays, much like a modern tent. Some things never change!




However, your eyes are strongly drawn to the curtains forming the doorway, just at this very moment being drawn back, ready for the day’s activities. For they are different to the rest of the wall. While made of the same linen material, they are intricately embroidered in purple, red and blue. You can still clearly remember the air of excitement and anticipation, sitting at your mother’s feet as a youngster, watching these glorious designs taking shape. For she and her friends diligently embroidered all the gateway curtains for the Tabernacle from designs supplied by that divinely inspired craftsman, Bezalel. As God had instructed, His chosen group of men, those who had a real passion for building the Tabernacle, closely supervised the ladies. Bless her heart! Great memories of those desert days. How sad that mum, dad and all the others died before we crossed the river into this fantastic, fertile land. I still miss them. A real lesson not to disobey God though!




As the curtains are drawn back you see your friend Eliasaph, the Levite on gate duty that day. And naturally, you pass a few words with him. For when has a good Jew ever been short of a few words! Ahead of you, you see the awesome, imposing, sacrificial Brazen Alter, the central feature of the open courtyard. Not as big as you would think though, but it appears so powerful and strong, to make one question its 5x5x3 cubits measurements. (2½ metres or yards square x 1½ high) Amazing how efficiently the sacrifices burn though! And durable too! For it is only made of common acacia wood, covered on both sides with copper. Amazingly, well not really, because God knows, this combination forms the most effective fire resistant material around!




The atmosphere suddenly changes when passing through the gate. For now you are in the courtyard of God’s dwelling place. In the Outer Court, where the one and only almighty God demands the cleansing of sin through sacrifice, to come into His Holy presence. The lamb starts squirming in your arms. For she can sense the smell of death that permeates the surroundings and is scared. Looking into her innocent, pleading eyes you turn quickly away, with tears in your eyes. You can’t bear to look at her again. What had she done to deserve this untimely end? Absolutely nothing! Solely your responsibility! What a sudden reminder of the awfulness of sin and God’s righteous judgement! Moving now towards the Brazen Altar, towards your meeting with God – feeling absolutely devastated. Oh God, that perfect, innocent lamb’s life - the price for my sin, for my life. Your legal requirement, I know. Oh God, I am so sorry for my stupid words. I won’t make that mistake again! A fear filled, “awe-full” moment!




The priest attracts your attention as he bounds towards you, speedily covering the few metres from the bronze Washing Basin, set on its sparkling, shiny brass stand. It is so lovingly polished by the Levites that you can see your face in it. He is ready to make your sacrifice, having washed both his hands and feet in the basin’s water, holy water that the Levites had sprinkled with anointing oil and blood. With mixed emotions you hand over your struggling, squirming lamb to the priest, desperate as she senses her impending death. In one movement, the priest holds down her head and expertly slits her throat, avoiding the innocent, pleading look in her panic-stricken eyes. Her bright red lifeblood spurts out in an unforgettable stream through her severed artery, her body spasms confirming the grim finality of a gruesome death. A life for a life as God’s law requires. The priest dips his finger in the blood, quickly placing a touch on each of the four horns of the altar while simultaneously holding the lamb up by its back legs, it’s remaining lifeblood draining out in a grim red ooze at the base of the altar. An innocent life for your life – the price has been paid for your sin.




Quickly slitting open and gutting the lamb, the priest throws the putrid smelling offal to one side for later disposal. The foul smell almost causes you to throw up! After skinning the lamb, he carefully removes all the fat from the carcass in accordance with God’s instructions to Moses. The fat is placed upon the altar, producing, as it burns, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. The priest puts the carcass to one side for later cooking and consumption by himself and his sons. So overcome are you by the gruesomeness of the whole experience and the terrible price the innocent lamb had to pay for your stupidity, your unnecessary sin, that you unashamedly fall onto your knees, crying out to the Lord your God in repentance. “My God, please forgive me, please forgive me – I won’t do it again! Please God! Please God! Please God!” …… Surely there must be a better way!




The priest sees your distress and gently places his hand on your shoulder. “You have done well, my friend. The Lord is pleased with you. For you only see the horror of sin and sacrifice, but He shows me His glory too. Let me tell you about it.





Having made his sacrifice, our friend now talks to the priest to discover more about the Tent and what goes on inside.





Of course we all know that Jesus was the final sacrifice for us. From the cross onwards, lambs lived for another day!

But what most of us fail to appreciate fully is the terrible physical cost Jesus paid for us. If we did, we would be less inclined to take sin so lightly.

I trust that this story has given you a better appreciation of the true cost of our sin.


Rabbis of ancient times said, “The Lord has created seven seas, but the Sea of Galilee is his delight.” Anyone who sees the Sea of Galilee understands this statement: The blue water, set against a green and brown background of surrounding mountains, creates a lovely scene. This freshwater lake is the largest in Israel, and many place it among the world’s most beautiful lakes.

The Bible does not tell us why God chose this place as the location for Jesus’ ministry, but as Creator, he certainly appreciated its beauty. Here God sent his Son with the message that the kingdom of God was at hand. The sea and its fishermen provided images that Jesus used to explain his kingdom and his followers’ role in it. And the sea also gave him opportunities to demonstrate that he was truly God.

Jesus spent most of his short ministry near or on the Sea of Galilee. As walk along the shore, we will better understand Jesus’ message and ministry.



So until next week.......

His servant and yours

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165. True repentance is an action that results in a life changing reaction.

David Tait         




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