- Exo 26:1-6 – The tabernacle
- Exo 26:7-14 – The tent
- Exo 26:15-30 – The frame of the tabernacle
- Exo 26:31-35 – The veil to divide the Holy Place and the Most Holy
- Exo 26:36-37 – The door of the tabernacle
Understanding Ceremonial Law
The Ceremonial Law was a part of all the revelations of the Law received by Moses (John 1:17).
To understand Ceremonial Law, we must consider two aspects of how each element of the law can be viewed: symbolism and type.
Concepts and Terminology
Before further addressing the content of these chapters, I want to explain these two terms that are often used interchangeably and that is confusing.
- Symbols are the representation of spiritual facts or principles in a visible form. For example, a dove is often used as a symbol representing the Holy Spirit. Symbols relate to truth operating at the time the symbols are used.
- Types are spiritual truths that will become real in the future. This concept comes from Rom 5:14 that says, Adam was a type of Christ. In this way, the sacrifice of the passover lamb was a type of Christ’s sacrifice.The types are “shadows” of the real thing.
Related to type is also the word “antitype”. This can be understood by considering a “mold” and the “object it produces”. The object is the type and the mold is the antitype. Accordingly , if Adam is a type of Christ, Christ is the antitype of Adam.
In general, before we can determine what something in the Old Testament “typifies” in the New Testament, we must understand what it “symbolizes”. The symbol is important for us because it helps us to understand the connection between the Old and the New Testament.
Further, we must always consider that the relationship of type to antitype reflects a progression in God’s plan of redemption. This avoids possible accidental resemblances. An example of this type of error is establishing a type relationship between the four lepers of Samaria (2 Kings 7) with the four Evangelists.
Application of Interpretations
This interpretation of Old Testament symbols as New Testament types was also done by our resurrected Lord with two disciples on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:27).
Evident types are present not only in the Ceremonial Law but also in historical events and figures. For example, Melchizedek was also a type of Christ (Psa 110:4, Heb 5:6, 6:20).
Ceremonies and Ordinances
All ordinances of the Old Testament were established as reminders of some events or truth. They were not intended as “magic” but “spiritual events” that are related to the heart. They reminded and imprinted on the hearts of the participants the symbolized truths. We could define them as an “acted out meditation.”
Understanding and believing in the represented symbolism are essential to their effectiveness.
This is true also in the New Testament for Water Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Now we can go back to the chapters on the Ceremonial Law we are reading.
Tabernacle means “tent” or “dwelling place.” Here, it refers to God’s dwelling place (Exo 25:8, 29:45). However, we must understand that the meaning is not the house where God finds shelter, but the place where the worshiper could find God’s presence. During the journey in the wilderness a mobile tent was the logical place to establish. With the settling in the Promised Land, the tent became a temple.
God described to Moses all the parts of the tabernacle in detail. They all had a purpose and a symbolic meaning. It is impossible to go into all the details of this symbolism. Many books have been written on this subject and you can refer to them if you are interested (eg, The Tabernacle of Moses by Conner Kevin).
A New Testament Perspective
From a New Testament perspective, we see that God dwells in the believer. That implies that the tabernacle is a type of the believers. The place where His presence is, is the Most Holy place that is a type of the believer’s heart.
Prayer of Faith
Thank you Father for the revelation You have given us that I don’t need to go to a special place to meet with you. I am a believer and You dwell in my heart. That is where I can meet with You and You talk to me. Jesus made this possible and today we can come to You not with the blood of animals but by the precious blood of Jesus. Now I can come boldly before the throne of grace to claim Your promises.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!
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