“According to all that I am going to show you, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct [it].”
Yesterday was Easter. Some Christians will prefer to call it “Resurrection Sunday” so as to avoid any of the potential pagan entanglements of the name commonly given to it today. Regardless of how we refer to the event, there is something that needs to be said about it and the happenings leading up to it: they were a serious of foretold events.
Read through the Old Testament and people often point out prophecies that point to the Messiah: Genesis with God’s word to Eve and Jacob’s blessing on Judah; Exodus with Moses as a type (or pattern) of what the Messiah would do; numerous prophecies in the Psalms; the list goes on and on — 600+ prophecies about the Messiah.
Jesus being laid in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb fulfilled a prophecy. The resurrection fulfilled a prophecy.
But prophecy is not the only foretelling God employed.
God instructs Moses to build the tabernacle “According to all that I am going to show you“. Why this attention to detail (aside from the fact that God is a detail-oriented kind of God)? If you look—seriously look—at the tabernacle, then a picture of Jesus and who He is and what He would do on the cross begins to emerge. The Ark of the Covenant is made of wood overlaid with gold: perishable covered with imperishable. It carries within it the Law, life brought forth from death (Aaron’s rod that sprouted), and the provision of God (manna). The Ark was a symbol and Jesus the realization. Jesus emptied Himself and put on mortality that He then clothed with immortality (see Paul’s comments on the subject for more detail). He bore our judgment (Law), is the Lamb of God (manna, bread of life, and Abraham’s statement that God would provide Himself as a lamb), and is alive from the dead (sprouting staff). And that’s just the more obvious ideas that suggest themselves at early o’clock.
The reason God told Moses to build “just so” is simple: to build any other way would mar the picture God was creating with the tabernacle. While it’s super cool to know that God is that concerned with making sure we get the picture, there is the question of how that applies to me today.
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit; the modern day tabernacle; the place where the glory of God peeks through into the dreary world we inhabit. If I mar the image of God in my life, then I have not built “just so“, but have futzed with the pattern. And the pattern is Jesus Christ. I am to build according to the pattern of Jesus. It make me grateful that my God came as a carpenter—a builder—so He can ensure the work is done right and the lines and angles are plumb with Him.
Lord God, thank You for the pattern for Christ. Thank You for this reminder to build according to pattern; not to try to make it up as I go. Please check the lines angles of my life; ensure they’re to Your standard of rightness and straightness. I do not want to damage the image of You in my life, though I know I often have. Please forgive those times and keep me from repeating them.