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When Moses talked with God on the mountain, God told him about the Ten Commands, about the three parties, and about His Character, and that was all amazing.
But this wasn’t all God told them. God also wanted the people to build a House for Him. And this wasn’t just going to be any ole’ house. This was going to be a copy, a shadow, of His Unseen-World House.
What a great idea! These people had not been seeing with Heaven-Eyes very well. So maybe if God gave them a copy of His House to see with their physical eyes, then they would understand more of Him and who He wanted them to be.
At this time, God’s children were living in tents — spread out as far as you could see. So God wanted His shadow home to be a tent, too!
God told Moses, “Make Me a big tent (also called a tabernacle) right in the middle of My Children’s tents.”
Do you think any ole’ tent would do for God’s House? No way. It’s not that God needed something we might call fancy, but if God was going to use this tent to show His Children something about Himself and His House, then this tent needed to be holy. Because God is holy! (Holy means set apart as special.) So God was going to give Moses a perfect blueprint for His House.
Do you know what a blueprint is? A blueprint is something that the designer of the house gives to the builders of the house so that everything will be just perfect. The designer writes or draws out all the details of the house very specifically, so that the builders know exactly what to do.
Since this tent was going to be a shadow of what God wanted to do with people, He couldn’t let them mess it up. So, God didn’t leave them guessing about the details of how to build His Special Tent, His Tabernacle. And when I say details, I mean, LOTS of details.
First the walls — the tent itself of course! God told them all the details of how many rooms He wanted, exactly what to make each part out of, how big each part should be, and how the parts fit together. The tent had a big area outside for making sacrifices, and a smaller area inside. But we’ll give more details about that in a minute.
Okay, so there were the walls, but what else?
In the courtyard, the big area outside, was the Altar for sacrifices. God said “Make an altar where you can bring all the sin offerings, burnt offerings, and other sacrifices to Me.” Now people had a way to say “thanks” and “sorry” to God, using the altar.
So, there were the walls, the Altar, and what else?
Next was a place to wash. Not a place for God to wash — God was already clean! But anyone coming into His House would need a place to wash up! Nothing unclean can go into God’s House! “Make a bowl to hold water so the priests can be clean in My clean House,” God said.
So there were the walls, the Altar, the Wash Bowl, what else?
God wanted His house to smell good, of course! So in the inside room — the Holy Place — God said, “Make an altar where you can burn sweet-smelling spices, incense.”
So there were the walls, the Altar, the Wash Bowl, the spices, and what else?
Well, every house needs Lights! “Make Me a gold lampstand.” It was one solid piece of pure gold, with 7 lights. The lights had to be full of oil and never go out.
So there were the walls, the Altar, the Wash Bowl, the spices, the Lampstand, what else?
Next thing God needed in His house was food. “Make Me a special table for Bread.” With the table were gold plates, gold ladles, gold pitchers, and gold bowls. And not just any gold — PURE GOLD.
So there were the walls, the Altar, the Wash Bowl, the spices, the Lampstand, the Bread Table, and what else?
God would need a place to come and rest. So in the inside room, behind a very beautiful, very thick, thick, thick curtain, would be a very special room called “The MOST Holy Place.” The only thing in this Most Holy Place room would be a beautiful box called the Ark of the Covenant.” God said, “Make this box out of wood, covered with gold all over, and with angels carved on the top of the lid.” This room was so special that only one person was allowed to go into this Most Holy Place, and they could only go in once a year.
So there were the walls, the Altar, the Wash Bowl, the spices, the Lampstand, the Bread Table, the Big Thick Curtain, and the Ark. (Whew! Moses had to write everything down so that he didn’t forget anything!)
These are only some of the details. You can read about more in your Bible.
Do you want to know why God gave all those details about how the tabernacle should be built? Because those are all shadows of His House today. Today it shows you what’s important to God.
The Altar — bringing your best to God. The Wash Bowl — having a clean heart! The sweet-smelling spices are a shadow of prayer. The Lampstand full of oil — a People that shines bright together and never stops giving light to the world. And finally the Ark, God’s Presence — the center of the whole House. Every detail in the Tabernacle was a shadow of something in the Unseen realms. Something of God that He wanted you to understand.
And the most important thing to understand and learn is that nothing about His Dwelling place was to be thought of as just “normal.” His House was to be Clean/Holy/Set Apart as Special to God. So as we walk you through this big story, you’ll find out that God’s real House is to be Holy, too. So, don’t think these things don’t matter to you, because they DO. So, keeeep learning!