Purpose for the Tabernacle

— The Mosaic Tabernacle System —

Brian Kuehmichel©
November 6, 2016



"Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount." (Heb 8:5)

"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect." (Heb 10:1)




Purpose of the Tabernacle and Levitical System:

God said, "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." (Exo 25:8); "And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office." (Exo 29:44); "Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna (Exo 16:33) and Aaron's rod that budded (Num 17:10), and the tables of the covenant (Deut 31:26)." "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:" (Heb 9:2-24)

The Levitical installation sacrifices, the numerous other required and voluntary Levitical sacrifices and many of the generally accepted types point to the purposes of God to remove sin from his creation. Why else structure for Israel such a rigid system of: ritual cleansing, required offerings, special provisions for categories of transgressions, essential offerings for specific events both corporately and individually, voluntary offerings from the heart in addition to established holy days, both weekly and throughout the year intertwined with celebratory feasts and days of affliction? Apostle Paul answers this when saying:

"Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." (1 Cor 10:11); "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of [the substance is about] Christ." (Col 2:16-17); "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount." (Heb 8:1-5) and "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect." (Heb 10:1)

The Tabernacle system of sacrifices was not an end unto itself, although it was helpful and instructive to Israel. The whole Levitical system of ceremonies, sacrifices, atonement days, holy days and feasts pointed to the only real and lasting solution for sin—an adequate, effective and unrepeated sacrificial payment. Not only does God build the case for man's sinfulness and the need to remove man's sin by a payment for it through death, but also God established the inadequacy of any animal as sufficient to pay the penalty for man's sin because the animal sacrifices needed to be repeated, daily, weekly, monthly, annually—essentially endlessly. So desperate is our need and so large the love of God toward His creation that He came Himself to become the sin payment by His own death. Jesus Christ entered into this world as a baby started in gestation, grew unto manhood, experienced the rigorous rules of Israel under the Mosaic law to prove His righteous living, offered Himself willingly to be that substitute for us, died unjustly at the hands of those he desired to redeem, was buried, rose from death by God's power, and ascended on high "into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."

"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (John 5:39-40); "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:51); "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6); "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again." (John 10:17); "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matt 20:28); "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45); "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim 2:5-6); "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12); "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36); "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son." (1 John 5:10)

The tabernacle pointed toward Christ Jesus as shown in Heb 9:1-4, "Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna (Exo 16:33) and Aaron's rod that budded (Num 17:10), and the tables of the covenant (Deut 31:26)."

"It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Heb 9:23-28)




See: Generally Accepted Types; Examples, Types, Shadows and More; Levitical Installation Sacrifices; Levitical Sacrifices; Tabernacle Symbols and Types; Types and Shadows are Important and Titles and Descriptions of Jesus Christ