The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 30: The Tabernacle and Its Services
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The command was communicated to Moses while in the
mount with God, "Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I
may dwell among them;" and full directions were given for the
construction of the tabernacle. By their apostasy the Israelites
forfeited the blessing of the divine Presence, and for the time
rendered impossible the erection of a sanctuary for God among
them. But after they were again taken into favor with Heaven,
the great leader proceeded to execute the divine command.
Chosen men were especially endowed by God with skill and
wisdom for the construction of the sacred building. God Himself
gave to Moses the plan of that structure, with particular directions
as to its size and form, the materials to be employed, and
every article of furniture which it was to contain. The holy
places made with hands were to be "figures of the true,"
patterns of things in the heavens" (Hebrews 9:24, 23)—a miniature
representation of the heavenly temple where Christ, our great
High Priest, after offering His life as a sacrifice, was to minister
in the sinner's behalf. God presented before Moses in the mount
a view of the heavenly sanctuary, and commanded him to make
all things according to the pattern shown him. All these directions
were carefully recorded by Moses, who communicated them
to the leaders of the people.
For the building of the sanctuary great and expensive
preparations were necessary; a large amount of the most precious and
costly material was required; yet the Lord accepted only freewill
offerings. "Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart
ye shall take My offering" was the divine command repeated by
Moses to the congregation. Devotion to God and a spirit of
sacrifice were the first requisites in preparing a dwelling place
for the Most High. [p. 344]
All the people responded with one accord. "They came,
every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his
spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord's offering to the
work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all His
service, and for the holy garments. And they came, both men
and women, as many as were willinghearted, and brought
bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold:
and every man that offered, offered an offering of gold unto
"And every man with whom was found blue, and purple,
and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and rams' skins dyed
red, and sealskins, brought them. Everyone that did offer an
offering of silver and brass brought the Lord's offering: and every
man, with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the
service, brought it.
"And all the women that were wisehearted did spin with
their hands, and brought that which they had spun, the blue,
and the purple, the scarlet, and the fine linen. And all the women
whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun the goats' hair.
"And the rulers brought the onyx stones, and the stones to be
set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate; and the spice, and the
oil; for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet
incense." Exodus 35:23-28, R.V.
While the building of the sanctuary was in progress the
people, old and young—men, women, and children—continued
to bring their offerings, until those in charge of the work found
that they had enough, and even more than could be used. And
Moses caused to be proclaimed throughout the camp, "Let neither
man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the
sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing." The
murmurings of the Israelites and the visitations of God's
judgments because of their sins are recorded as a warning to
after-generations. And their devotion, their zeal and liberality, are an
example worthy of imitation. All who love the worship of God
and prize the blessing of His sacred presence will manifest the
same spirit of sacrifice in preparing a house where He may meet
with them. They will desire to bring to the Lord an offering of
the very best that they possess. A house built for God should not
be left in debt, for He is thereby dishonored. An amount sufficient
to accomplish the work should be freely given, that the workmen [p. 347] may be able to say, as did the builders of the tabernacle, "Bring
no more offerings."
The tabernacle was so constructed that it could be taken apart
and borne with the Israelites in all their journeyings. It was
therefore small, being not more than fifty-five feet in length, and
eighteen in breadth and height. Yet it was a magnificent structure.
The wood employed for the building and its furniture was
that of the acacia tree, which was less subject to decay than
any other to be obtained at Sinai. The walls consisted of
upright boards, set in silver sockets, and held firm by pillars and
connecting bars; and all were overlaid with gold, giving to the
building the appearance of solid gold. The roof was formed of
four sets of curtains, the innermost of "fine twined linen, and
blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubim of cunning work;"
the other three respectively were of goats' hair, rams' skins dyed
red, and sealskins, so arranged as to afford complete protection.
The building was divided into two apartments by a rich and
beautiful curtain, or veil, suspended from gold-plated pillars; and
a similar veil closed the entrance of the first apartment. These,
like the inner covering, which formed the ceiling, were of the
most gorgeous colors, blue, purple, and scarlet, beautifully
arranged, while inwrought with threads of gold and silver were
cherubim to represent the angelic host who are connected with
the work of the heavenly sanctuary and who are ministering
spirits to the people of God on earth.
The sacred tent was enclosed in an open space called the
court, which was surrounded by hangings, or screens, of fine
linen, suspended from pillars of brass. The entrance to this
enclosure was at the eastern end. It was closed by curtains of
costly material and beautiful workmanship, though inferior to
those of the sanctuary. The hangings of the court being only
about half as high as the walls of the tabernacle, the building
could be plainly seen by the people without. In the court, and
nearest the entrance, stood the brazen altar of burnt offering.
Upon this altar were consumed all the sacrifices made by fire
unto the Lord, and its horns were sprinkled with the atoning
blood. Between the altar and the door of the tabernacle was the
laver, which was also of brass, made from the mirrors that had
been the freewill offering of the women of Israel. At the laver
the priests were to wash their hands and their feet whenever [p. 348] they went into the sacred apartments, or approached the altar
to offer a burnt offering unto the Lord.
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