The construction of the tabernacle and all its details is outlined in Ex 25-40. During the construction of the tabernacle and all of its furnishings, Moses set up a tent which was called the ‘Tent of Meeting’ outside the camp. In this tent Moses would meet God face to face on behalf of the people. Everyone who wanted to consult or make a request of the Lord would go to the ‘tent of meeting’. As soon as Moses would enter the tent, the cloud would come down and remain at the entrance while the Lord spoke with Moses (Ex 33:7-11). Often the Tabernacle has been also called the ‘Tent of Meeting’ because the people would meet with God through the mediation of the priest.
After the Tabernacle was completed, we see in Exodus 40 and Numbers 7, that on the first day of the new year, the tabernacle was to be set up and the furnishings were placed in the Holy Place and in the Holy of Holies Place. Moses was to take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it along with all its furnishings so that it would be ceremonially clean. Aaron and his sons were to be washed, dressed in sacred garments, anointed and consecrated to serve as priests. Here is where the priesthood was to start. The dedication took 12 days. Two weeks after the tabernacle was finished, Israel celebrated the first anniversary of the passover. Exodus 40:34-35, “The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was unable to enter the ‘tent of meeting’ because the cloud rested on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”
This tabernacle of Moses was given as a shadow, a type, a pattern of the heavenly realities. The tabernacle’s structure itself and its unique pieces of furniture shows great symbolism and typology in them. Remember, everything was a finger pointing to the Messiah. The tabernacle, as a type, designed specifically and in detail by God, would point to the character of Christ and aspects of His ministry. Hebrews 8:5 tells us that the tabernacle was a shadow, while Hebrews 9:11-14, and especially v24 (in the Mirror Bible), gives us the arrival of the perfect tabernacle: “in Christ we have so much more than a type reflected in the tabernacle of holy places which was set up by human hands. He entered into the heavenly sphere itself, where he personally represents us face to face with God”.
God’s dwelling place is in all you-manity, individually and corporately, created in his image and likeness. Christ in you the hope of glory, we are his address; he is us. We are never separated from God, even though we have separated ourselves from Him only in our own mind. The picture of the tabernacle in the wilderness showed us that God is always with His people, as Jesus manifested in John 1:14 “The word became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth” (Young’s Literal Translation), or as the same verse reads in the Mirror Bible, “Suddenly the invisible, eternal Word takes on visible form – the Incarnation, on display in a flesh and blood Person, as in a mirror! In him, and now confirmed in us! The most accurate tangible exhibit of God’s eternal thought finds expression in human life! The Word became a human being; we are his address; he resides in us! He captivates our gaze! The glory we see there is not a religious replica; he is the authentic begotten Son. The glory returns in fullness! Only grace can communicate truth in such complete context!”
According to Exodus 27:9-15 the courtyard was surrounded by fine twisted white linen curtains set in bronze base sockets with silver bands. The North and South sides were each 100 cubits and the West side was 50 cubits. The East side was also 50 cubits and contained the East Gate, the only entrance into the courtyard. The whole area within the surrounding curtains, including the outer and inner courts, were set aside for God to meet/dwell with the people of Israel/humanity. So too, we are the temple/tabernacle set apart (holy) from creation (plants and animals). This is where we are one with God; His tabernacle where He dwells within.