Olubi Johnson 

The Tabernacle of Moses

The tabernacle was a large tent designed by God and built by the Israelites, as directed by Moses, who was given the design at Mount Sinai. It was the dwelling place of God’s glory (His presence), and a mobile place of worship for the entire camp of Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness.  The tabernacle was divided into three compartments: It had an outer court, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place.

The outer court (Exodus 30:17-21) was the largest, as it contained the other two compartments, and it was bordered by a screen of curtains, but was not covered. The only entrance into the tabernacle was through the outer court, where the brazen altar  (Exodus 27:1-8) and the brazen laver (Exodus 30:17-21) could be found. The brazen altar was where burnt offering and animal sacrifices were made (e.g. sin offering) and the brazen laver was where the priests washed their hands and feet prior to performing their duties. Only the Levites were allowed by God to serve in the tabernacle, which meant that all the priests had to be from this tribe (Numbers 3:6-17). Not all Levites, however, qualified to be priests, and in the outer court ordinary Levites could be found assisting the priests in their duties.

The Holy Place was the next compartment in the tabernacle and it was completely enclosed along with the Most Holy Place. Only the priests were allowed to enter into the Holy Place which was illuminated by the candlelight of the golden seven-branched lamp stand  (Exodus 25:31-39). Inside the Holy Place, apart from the lamp stand, there was the table overlaid with gold, upon which the shewbread was placed (Exodus 25:23-30) and also the altar of incense (Exodus 30:1-10) which stood in front of the veiled entrance of the Most Holy Place.

The Most Holy Place beyond the veil contained the Ark of the covenant where the glory and the presence of God was (Exodus 25:10-22). Inside the Ark were the two tablets of stone in which the ten commandments were engraved, a golden pot containing manna and Aaron’s rod that blossomed. Only the High Priest was allowed to go into the Most Holy Place, and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement.

Growth into Perfection in the Tabernacle of Moses

Many of the fundamental truths of our redemption in Christ are hidden symbolically in the structure, and furniture of the tabernacle of Moses.

In particular, we can find the truth of our spiritual growth into cleansing perfection hidden in the tabernacle.  Cleansing perfection is a spiritual condition in which the sin substance in the soul and body have been completely cleansed out by the power of the Holy Spirit through the Word.  This does not mean the Christian can no longer sin, but it is a state which must be maintained by a diligent walk in the spirit.

In general we can say the outer court represents 30-fold Christianity or the wood and earth vessel Christian.

The Holy Place represents 60-fold Christianity or the silver vessel Christian.

The Most Holy Place represents 100-fold Christianity or the gold vessel Christian.

Mark 4:20 KJV: And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirty fold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

2 Timothy 2:20 KJV: But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

Furthermore there are three levels of the understanding of Word of God symbolically revealed in the Tabernacle of Moses: the brazen laver, the shewbread and the hidden manna.

Let us now examine this truth in some detail.

The outer Court         

The outer court has only one entrance and it represents the place where you start as a Christian:

John 14:6 KJV: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The entrance door of the Outer Court represents Jesus, the only way into the household of God. Sadly many Christians live at the door, like the man Paul was talking about in I Corinthians 5:1-5. Such people do not have a prayer life nor have they learnt the principles of operating in the things of the Spirit. Because they live careless spiritual lives: they are constantly backsliding and repenting. When the door is finally shut, many of them may find themselves on the wrong side. It is a very dangerous place to live.

1 Corinthians 5:1 KJV: It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

 1 Corinthians 5:5 KJV: To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Still in the outer court, the next item you will meet is the Brazen altar where sin offerings were made. The Christian who lives around this altar is only slightly better than the one at the door. The Brazen altar Christian is a nominal Christian who lives a carnal fleshly life. He does not know the Word of God and he is not ready to tax himself to move further up in spiritual things because they are difficult initially, requiring discipline. One thing you need to understand is that there must be constant motion in the Christian life, and you are either pressing forwards, sliding backwards or oscillating backwards and forwards, making no progress at all. Many of these people live in sin constantly only to repent, because of God’s great mercy, moments before they die, while others may not be so fortunate.

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 KJV: And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

The last item in the Outer Court is the brazen laver where the Priests cleanse their hands and feet. This represents the experience of the born again Christian who loves God, does not live in habitual sin, and knows the Word of God, but is not baptized in the Holy Spirit, or even if he is, he does not pray much in the Spirit.

They use the water of the Word in the brazen laver to wash their feet or their conduct enough to have some Christian witness by not living in habitual moral sin but do not operate the spiritual law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:2) to any appreciably effective degree to dominate the satanic nature in the flesh.

John 15:3 KJV: Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

This is because such a person only sees the Word of God in its natural context: literal and historical understanding alone: he does not understand the manifold wisdom of God; in fact he will call the hidden wisdom in the Word error or heresy. This is because the person in the outer court looking in the brazen laver cannot see the shewbread, or the candlestick, hidden from his view in the Holy Place.

Many Christians are like this: in fact the majority of the evangelical, and Pentecostal Church falls into this category. The nature of God: eternal life, living water operates primarily only in their spirits but does not have much influence in their soul: the mind, will and emotions or body. So they keep the moral law of the ten commandments to a certain degree but under pressure they will succumb to the satanic nature in the soul and the flesh.

The Holy Place

From the Outer Court you then proceed into the Holy Place. In the Holy Place there are three important items, namely: the candlestick, the shewbread and the altar of incense.

The candlestick represents the experience of the Christian who is serious about the Word of God and does not sin habitually. He also prays in the Spirit continuously (without interruption by praying in the understanding) for at least one hour as a daily habit and so is receiving some degree of revelation knowledge from the Word of God.

Matthew 26:40-41 KJV: And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?  Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Luke 9:23 KJV: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

1 Corinthians 14:2 KJV: For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

1 Corinthians 2:7 KJV: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden (from those in the outer court) wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

1 Corinthians 2:10 KJV: But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

Ephesians 1:17-18 KJV: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory.

A step further is the Christian who is living at the stage represented by the shewbread. He does everything the candlestick Christian does but in addition he fasts on a regular basis and so he gets deeper revelation from the Word of God than the Christian at the candlestick level.

2 Corinthians 11:27 KJV: In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

Isaiah 58:6 KJV: Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

Isaiah 58:8 KJV: Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.

Progressing yet further, you will come to the altar of incense. This represents the Christian who in addition to doing all that the other levels are doing, is praying with travail and all types of prayer in the spirit as a daily habit, such that the nature of Christ: eternal life, living water is operating effectively in his soul and flesh (Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 6:18).

The nature of Christ is being formed in the soul and body though not yet completely.

The altar of incense represents prayer with all types of prayer in the Spirit.

Revelation 5:8 NIV: And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

Revelation 8:3 KJV: And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

Ephesians 6:18 KJV: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Galatians 4:19 KJV: My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

The Most Holy Place

In the Most Holy Place, the tables of stone represents the experience of the Christian who has passed through all the other stages and who has the word of God engraved or engrafted permanently into his mind just as the law was written by in the tablets of stone by the finger of God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 31:18).

2 Corinthians 3:3 KJV: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

Hebrews 8:10 KJV: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts…. 

This is a Christian who has attained dominion perfection: He always ultimately does all of the will of God revealed to him though he may fall or falter along the way:

Proverbs 24:16 KJV: For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

 Psalms 37:23-24 KJV: The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. 

By ordering his steps in the Word, the Lord causes this man to have dominion over all iniquity and so fulfill all of His will:

Psalms 119:133 KJV: Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

Acts 13:22 KJV: And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

This is one reason why the New Testament perfect church that will be raised up in this third day is referred to as the Tabernacle of David:

Amos 9:11 KJV: In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:

Hosea 6:2 KJV: After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

The hidden manna represents the experience of the Christian who has completely cleansed out the sin nature from the mind, but not yet completely from the emotions and flesh.

 Revelation 2:17 KJV: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Such a Christian has a mind totally illuminated by the life of God so that his understanding is no longer darkened by alienation of the life of God; this is also what the Bible describes as the day star arising in your heart:

Ephesians 4:18 KJV: Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

2 Peter 1:19 KJV: We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

This means that the Christian will have the mind of Christ, and naturally think like God thinks in any situation.

 1 Corinthians 2:16 KJV: For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The last stage of Christian growth into cleansing perfection is portrayed by Aaron’s blossoming rod. Aaron’s rod was initially a dead piece of wood, which God caused to bring forth fruit (Numbers 17:3-8). Wood is often used in the Bible in reference to men or humanity (Psalms 1:3; Deuteronomy 20:19; Isaiah 61:3), and Aaron’s rod here represents the physical body of man which being shapen in iniquity and born in sin (Psalm 51:5), is initially dead spiritually, but becomes supernaturally fruitful with the fruit of the Spirit at this stage of development.

Romans 8:10-11 KJV: And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness [right standing]. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [give life to] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

The nature of God, eternal life, at this stage, has completely cleansed the sin nature or substance from the physical body and not just in the mind alone, as it was for hidden manna stage. Paul describes this stage in 2 Corinthians 7:1 saying

… Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit; perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

The body, at this stage, becomes like Jesus’ body when He was on earth, without any sin nature, but full only with the divine life and nature of God. Again we wish to state that this does not mean the Christian can no longer sin but that this condition must be maintained by a diligent walk in the spirit:

1 Timothy 6:14 KJV: That thou keep this commandment without SPOT, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 5:26-27 KJV: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having SPOT, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

 Judge yourself and Press on                                    

You can now judge yourself to determine where you are living now by comparing what you are doing with the various stages of growth we have just discussed. I must reiterate that you cannot be stagnant in the Christian walk with God, and at any point in time you are either pressing forward or backsliding. It is possible to be in, say, the Holy Place and slip back into the outer court by becoming lazy or getting offended or by spiritual pride:

For instance, if a Christian operating in the Holy Place begins to despise or look down at others in the outer court, God will begin to resist him and he can begin to lose the revelation he has and the sin nature in the flesh will begin to have more dominion over him. Remember knowledge puffeth up but charity edifieth (1 Cor. 8:1). Your attitude towards those not as spiritual as you should be one of tolerance, patience and meekness: love them and pray for them; do not despise or reject them.

Romans 14:1 KJV: Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

Galatians 6:1-2 KJV: Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

Romans 15:1-2 KJV: We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

It is important that you locate where you are and begin to press forward by the help of the Holy Spirit as Paul said:

Philippians 3:14 KJV: I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.