According to the Writings of Moses there were about 600,000 men, plus women and children who left Egypt at the exodus. They came out of Egypt and they journeyed in the wilderness where the tribes would camp around the Tabernacle in God-specified locations. Israel’s freedom was not defined by their escape from Pharaoh’s rule, but by their possessing the Promise that God would be in their midst and would bring them into the promised land. Yet, except for 2, the entire generation died on the wrong side of the promise. The Israelites continued to believe in ‘giants’ which dwarfed them into grasshopper status in their own imagination! Because of the fall, Adam and all humanity thereafter, were of the belief that they were alienated from God. Again this was/is in their own mind according to Col. 1:21-22. This thinking became ‘a wilderness of their own making’. Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. God placed himself in the picture again. He did not merely rescue humanity from slavery to an inferior opinion about their true identity – but freeing humanity to their true identity, therefore being freed to possess the life of your design in yourself and to see this same freedom for others! (Mirror Bible).
The Tabernacle stood in the centre of the camp with the tribes camped around with the Levites (Gershonites westside, Kohathites southside, Moses, Aaron and Priests on the eastside and the Merarites on the north side) surrounding it. This placed God in the heart, the centre of his people, though still separated from His people. Beyond the priests were the tribes of Naphtali, Dan and Asher on the northside. According to Jewish tradition it was believed that the banners of the tribes were as follows: Dan being an eagle of gold on a blue background; Manasseh, Ephraim and Benjamin on the west side under the banner of an Ox of black on gold background; Simeon, Reuben and Gad on the southside under the banner of a Man on gold background, and on the east side Issachar, Zebulon and Judah with a banner representing a Lion of gold with a scarlet background. We can see these 4 symbols recurring elsewhere in the Bible: Ezekiel and Revelation. On the outside of the tabernacle on the East side, toward the rising of the sun were the military forces and those under the banner with Judah (which included the tribes of Issachar and Zebulon). Judah being the kingly tribe (Jesus being of the tribe of Judah sits as king over everything. He is Malach Yahweh (The Lord our King)). It is surmised that the tribes were arranged in such a way as to form a cross, with the East side being the foot of the cross. Therefore, the tribe of Judah being the largest of the tribes, would march ahead of all of the people as they travelled through the wilderness.
In the Old Testament we can read, according to Exodus 3 and 12, that after the instruction for the passover meal, the giving of articles of value to the Israelites and the exodus from Egypt, the Lord spoke to Moses in Exodus chapter 25 take a contribution for Him of gold, silver and bronze, blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, rams skin dyed red, dugong skins, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for anointing oil for the fragrant incense and different gemstones for the construction of a sanctuary (tabernacle) for Him to dwell amongst His people in the wilderness. According to all that He himself did show, “the pattern of the tabernacle as well as the pattern of all its furnishings.”(Ex 25:9). This word, ‘tabernacle’, literally translates as ‘a dwelling place’. In its original form the tabernacle was a tent or booth. Meant to be a temporary dwelling place during their travels in the wilderness. It was to be a place of God’s visible presence among the people of Israel in the wilderness. Israel’s god-king in their midst.