6 occurrences in 6 dictionaries

Reference: Tabernacle


A tent, booth, pavilion, or temporary dwelling. For its general meaning and uses, see TENT. In the Scriptures it is employed more particularly of the tent made by Moses at the command of God, for the place of religious worship of the Hebrews, before the building of the temple. The directions of God, and the account of the execution of them, are contained in Ex 25, and the following chapters. This is usually called the tabernacle of the congregation, or tent of assembly, and sometimes the tabernacle of the testimony.

The tabernacle was of an oblong rectangular form, thirty cubits long, ten broad, and ten in height, Ex 26.15-30; 36.20-30; that is, about fifty-five feet long, eighteen broad, and eighteen high. The two sides and the western end were formed of boards of shittim wood, overlaid with thin plates of gold, and fixed in solid sockets or vases of silver. Above, they were secured by bars of the same wood overlaid with gold, passing through rings of gold which were fixed to the boards. On the east end, which was the entrance, there were no boards, but only five pillars of shittim wood, whose chapters and fillets were overlaid with gold and their hooks of gold, standing in five sockets of brass. The tabernacle thus erected was covered with four different kinds of curtains. The first and inner curtain was composed of fine linen, magnificently embroidered with figures of cherubim, in shades of blue, purple, and scarlet; this formed the beautiful ceiling. The next covering was made of fine goats' hair; the third of rams' skins or morocco dyed red; and the fourth and outward covering of a thicker leather. See BADGERS' SKINS. We have already said that the east end of the tabernacle had no boards, but only five pillars of shittim wood; it was therefore closed with a richly embroidered curtain suspended from these pillars, Ex 27:16.

Such was the external appearance of the sacred tent, which was divided into two apartments by means of four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold, like the pillars before described, two cubits and a half distant from each other; only they stood in sockets of silver instead of brass, Ex 26:32; 36:36; and on these pillars was hung a veil, formed of the same materials as the one placed at the east end, Ex 26:31-33; 36:35; Heb 9:3. The interior of the tabernacle was thus divided, it is generally supposed, in the same proportions as the temple afterwards built according to its model; two-thirds of the whole length being allotted to the first room, or the Holy Place, and one-third to the second, or Most Holy Place. Thus the former would be twenty cubits long, ten wide, and ten high, and the latter ten cubits every way. It is observable, that neither the Holy nor the Most Holy place had any window. Hence the need of the candlestick in the one, for the service that was performed therin.

The tabernacle thus described stood in an open space or court of an oblong form, one hundred cubits in length, and fifty in breadth, situated due east and west, Ex 27:18. This court was surrounded with pillars of brass, filleted with silver, and placed at the distance of five cubits from each other, twenty on each side and ten on each end. Their sockets were of brass, and were fastened to the earth with pins of the same metal, Ex 38:10,17,20. Their height was probably five cubits, that being the length of the curtains that were suspended on them, Ex 28:18. These curtains, which formed an enclosure round the court, were of fine twined white linen yarn, Ex 27:9; 38:9,16, except that at the entrance on the east end, which was of blue and purple and scarlet and fine white twined linen, with cords to draw it either up or aside when the priests entered the court, Ex 27:16; 38:18. Within this area stood the altar of burnt-offerings, and the laver with its foot or base. This altar was placed in a line between the door of the court and the door of the tabernacle, but nearer the former, Ex 40:6,29; the laver stood the altar of burnt-offering and the door of the tabernacle, Ex 38:8. In this court all the Israelites presented their offerings, vows, and prayers.

But although the tabernacle was surrounded by the court, there is no reason to think that it stood in the center of it. It is more probable that the area at the east end was fifty cubits square; and indeed a less space than that could hardly suffice for the work that was to be done there, and for the persons who were immediately to attend the service. We now proceed to notice the furniture which the tabernacle contained.

In the Holy Place to which none but priests were admitted, Heb 9:6, were three objects worthy of notice: namely, the altar of incense, the table for the show-bread, and the candlestick for the show-bread, and the candlestick for the lights, all of which have been described in their respective places. The altar of incense was placed in the middle of the sanctuary, before the veil, Ex 30:6-10; 40:26-27; and on it the incense was burnt morning and evening, Ex 30:7-8. On the north side of the altar of incense, that is, on the right hand of the priest as he entered, stood the table for the show-bread, Ex 26:35; 40:22-23; and on the south side of the Holy Place, the golden candlestick, Ex 25:31-39. In the Most Holy Place, into which only the high priest entered once a year, Heb 9:7, was the ark, covered by the mercy-seat and the cherubim.

The gold and silver employed in decorating the tabernacle are estimated at not less than a million of dollars. The remarkable and costly structure thus described was erected in the wilderness of Sinai, on the first day of the first month of the second year, after the Israelites left Egypt, Ex 40.17; and when erected was anointed, together with its furniture, with holy oil, Ex 40:9-11, and sanctified by blood, Ex 24:6-8; Heb 9:21. The altar of burnt offerings, especially, was sanctified by sacrifices during seven days, Ex 29:37; while rich donations were given by the princes of the tribes for the service of the sanctuary, Nu 7:1.

We should not omit to observe, that the tabernacle was so constructed as to be taken to pieces and put together again, as occasion required. This was indispensable; it being designed to accompany the Israelites during their travels in the wilderness. With it moved and rested the pillar of fire and of cloud. As often as Israel removed, the tabernacle was taken to pieces by the priests, closely covered, and borne in regular order by the Levites, Nu 4. Wherever they encamped, it was pitched in the midst of their tents, which were set up in a quadrangular form, under their respective standards, at a distance from the tabernacle of two thousand cubits; while Moses and Aaron, with the priests and Levites, occupied a place between them.

How long this tabernacle existed we do not know. During the conquest it remained at Gilgal, Jos 4:19; 10:43. After the conquest it was stationed for many years at Shiloh, Jos 18:1; 1Sa 1:3. In 2Sa 6:17, and 1Ch 15:1, it is said that David had prepared and pitched a tabernacle in Jerusalem for the ark, which before had long been at Kirjath-jearim, and then in the house of Obed-edom, 1Ch 13:6,14; 2Sa 6:11-12. In 1Ch 21:29, it is said that the tabernacle of Moses was still at Gibeon at that time; and it would therefore seem that the ark had long been separated from it. The tabernacle still remained at Gibeon in the time of Solomon, who sacrificed before it, 2Ch 1:3,13. This is the last mention made of it; for apparently the tabernacle brought with the ark into the temple, 2Ch 5:5, was the tent in which the ark had been kept on Zion, 2Ch 1:4; 5:2.

Feast of Tabernacles. This festival derives its name from the booths in which the people dwelt during its continuance, which were constructed of the branches and leaves of trees, on the roofs of their houses, in the courts, and also in the streets. Nehemiah describes the gathering of palm-branches, olive branches, myrtle-branches, etc., for this occasion, from the Mount of Olives. It was one of the three great festivals of the year, at which all the men of Israel were required to be present, De 16:16. It was celebrated during eight days, commencing on the fifteenth day of

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(1.) A house or dwelling-place (Job 5:24; 18:6, etc.).

(2.) A portable shrine (comp. Ac 19:24) containing the image of Moloch (Am 5:26; marg. and R.V., "Siccuth").

(3.) The human body (2Co 5:1,4); a tent, as opposed to a permanent dwelling.

(4.) The sacred tent (Heb mishkan, "the dwelling-place"); the movable tent-temple which Moses erected for the service of God, according to the "pattern" which God himself showed to him on the mount (Ex 25:9; Heb 8:5). It is called "the tabernacle of the congregation," rather "of meeting", i.e., where God promised to meet with Israel (Ex 29:42); the "tabernacle of the testimony" (Ex 38:21; Nu 1:50), which does not, however, designate the whole structure, but only the enclosure which contained the "ark of the testimony" (Ex 25:16,22; Nu 9:15); the "tabernacle of witness" (Nu 17:8); the "house of the Lord" (DE 23:18); the "temple of the Lord" (Jos 6:24); a "sanctuary" (Ex 25:8).

Illustration: Tabernacle in the Wilderness Illustration: Tabernacle Unveiled

A particular account of the materials which the people provided for the erection and of the building itself is recorded in EX 25-40. The execution of the plan mysteriously given to Moses was intrusted to Bezaleel and Aholiab, who were specially endowed with wisdom and artistic skill, probably gained in Egypt, for this purpose (Ex 35:30-35). The people provided materials for the tabernacle so abundantly that Moses was under the necessity of restraining them (Ex 36:6). These stores, from which they so liberally contributed for this purpose, must have consisted in a great part of the gifts which the Egyptians so readily bestowed on them on the eve of the Exodus (Ex 12:35-36).

The tabernacle was a rectangular enclosure, in length about 45 feet (i.e., reckoning a cubit at 18 inches) and in breadth and height about 15. Its two sides and its western end were made of boards of acacia wood, placed on end, resting in sockets of brass, the eastern end being left open (Ex 26:22). This framework was covered with four coverings, the first of linen, in which figures of the symbolic cherubim were wrought with needlework in blue and purple and scarlet threads, and probably also with threads of gold (Ex 26:1-6; 36:8-13). Above this was a second covering of twelve curtains of black goats'-hair cloth, reaching down on the outside almost to the ground (Ex 26:7-11). The third covering was of rams' skins dyed red, and the fourth was of badgers' skins (Heb tahash, i.e., the dugong, a species of seal), Ex 25:5; 26:14; 35:7,23; 36:19; 39:34.

Internally it was divided by a veil into two chambers, the exterior of which was called the holy place, also "the sanctuary" (Heb 9:2) and the "first tabernacle" (Heb 9:6); and the interior, the holy of holies, "the holy place," "the Holiest," the "second tabernacle" (Ex 28:29; Heb 9:3,7). The veil separating these two chambers was a double curtain of the finest workmanship, which was never passed except by the high priest once a year, on the great Day of Atonement. The holy place was separated from the outer court which enclosed the tabernacle by a curtain, which hung over the six pillars which stood at the east end of the tabernacle, and by which it was entered.

The order as well as the typical character of the services of the tabernacle are recorded in Heb 9; 10:19-22.

The holy of holies, a cube of 10 cubits, contained the "ark of the testimony", i.e., the oblong chest containing the two tables of stone, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded.

The holy place was the western and larger chamber of the tabernacle. Here were placed the table for the shewbread, the golden candlestick, and the golden altar of incense.

Round about the tabernacle was a court, enclosed by curtains hung upon sixty pillars (Ex 27:9-18). This court was 150 feet long and 75 feet broad. Within it were placed the altar of burnt offering, which measured 7 1/2 feet in length and breadth and 4 1/2 feet high, with horns at the four corners, and the laver of brass (Ex 30:18), which stood between the altar and the tabernacle.

The whole tabernacle was completed in seven months. On the first day of the first month of the second year after the Exodus, it was formally set up, and the cloud of the divine presence descended on it (Ex 39:22-43; 40). It cost 29 talents 730 shekels of gold, 100 talents 1,775 shekels of silver, 70 talents 2,400 shekels of brass (Ex 38:24-31).

The tabernacle was so constructed that it could easily be taken down and conveyed from place to place during the wanderings in the wilderness. The first encampment of the Israelites after crossing the Jordan was at Gilgal, and there the tabernacle remained for seven years (Jos 4:19). It was afterwards removed to Shiloh (Jos 18:1), where it remained during the time of the Judges, till the days of Eli, when the ark, having been carried out into the camp when the Israelites were at war with the Philistines, was taken by the enemy (1Sa 4), and was never afterwards restored to its place in the tabernacle. The old tabernacle erected by Moses in the wilderness was transferred to Nob (1Sa 21:1), and after the destruction of that city by Saul (1Sa 22:9; 1Ch 16:39-40), to Gibeon. It is mentioned for the last time in 1Ch 21:29. A new tabernacle was erected by David at Jerusalem (2Sa 6:17; 1Ch 16:1), and the ark was brought from Perez-uzzah and deposited in it (2Sa 6:8-17; 2Ch 1:4).

The word thus rendered ('ohel) in Ex 33:7 denotes simply a tent, probably Moses' own tent, for the tabernacle was not yet erected.

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Hebrew mishkan, 'ohel; Greek skeenee. A miniature model of the earth, as Israel was a pattern to all nations. The earth shall at last be the tabernacle of God's glory, when He will tabernacle with men (Re 21:3). Mishkan is from shakan "to dwell," a poetical word, from from whence comes shekinah. As ohel represents the outward tent of black goats' hair curtains, so mishkan is the inner covering, the curtain immediately on the boards; the two are combined, "the tabernacle of the tent" (Ex 39:32; 40:2,6,29). "House" (bet) applies to the tabernacle when fixed in Canaan, Israel's inheritance; originally appearing in Beth-el; finally designating the church of the New Testament (1Ti 3:15.) Qodesh and miqdash, "sanctuary," are applied to

(1) the whole tabernacle (Ex 25:8),

(2) the court of the priests (Nu 4:12), and

(3) in the narrowest sense to the holy of holies (Le 4:6).

The same tabernacle was in the wilderness and in Shiloh; the external surroundings alone were changed (Ps 78:60; Jos 18:1; 1Sa 3:15). The inner mishkan (Greek naos) was the same, surrounded by an outer covered space into which "doors" led. Samuel slept, not in the inner mishkan, but in one of the outer chambers. The whole, including the outer chambers, was called heeykal (Greek hieron), "palace." The predominating color was sky blue (Ex 25:4; 26:4; 28:28,31,37); the curtain, loops, veil, high priest's lace of the breast-plate, ephod robe, mitre lace. The three colors employed, blue, scarlet, and purple, were the royal colors and so best suited to the tabernacle, the earthly palace of Jehovah. The three principal parts of the tabernacle were the mishkan, "the DWELLING PLACE"; the tent, 'ohel; the covering, mikseh.

The materials for the mishkan were a great cloth of woven work figured with cherubim, measuring 40 cubits by 28, and a quadrangular enclosure of wood, open at one end, 10 cubits high, 10 wide, and 30 long. The size of the cloth appears from the number and dimensions of the ten breadths ("curtains") of which it consisted (Ex 26:1-6,26-28; 36:31-33). The VEIL was 10 cubits from the back, according to Philo and Josephus. (See VEIL.) THE TENT was the great cloth of goats' hair, 44 cubits by 30, and five pillars overlaid with gold, and furnished with golden hooks (waw), used as to the veil and the tent curtains; taches, "qeres," belong to the tabernacle cloth and the tent cloth of the sanctuary, Ex 26:6,33), from which hung the curtain that closed the entrance. The covering was of rams' and tachash (skins of marine animals, as seals; badger skins. (See BADGER) Fergusson ably shows that an ordinary tent sheltered the inner mishkan. The common arrangement makes

(1) the fabric unsightly in form and the beauty of its materials mainly concealed; also

(2) drapery could not be strained over a space of 15 feet without heavily sagging, and a flat roof could not keep out rain; also

(3) the pins and cords essential to a tent would hardly have place if the curtains were merely thrown over the woodwork and hung down on each side; also

(4) the name "tent" implies a structure in that shape, not flat roofed; also

(5) the five pillars in front of the mishkan would be out of symmetry with the four pillars of the veil, and the middle of the five pillars would stand needlessly and inconveniently in the way of the entrance.

The five are quite appropriate to the entrance to a tent; the middle one, the tallest, supporting one end of a ridge pole, 60 ft. long. The heads of the pillars were joined by connecting rods (KJV "fillets ") overlaid with gold (Ex 36:38). There were five bars for each side of the structure, and five for the back, the middle bar alone of the five on each wall reached from end to end (Ex 26:28), as here shown. The red rams' skins covering was over the goats' hair, and the tachash skins above this (Ex 26:14). The tent cloth was laid over the tabernacle cloth so as to allow a cubit of tent cloth extending on each side in excess of the tabernacle cloth; it extended two cubits at the back and front (Ex 26:13; 36:9,13). The roof angle was probably a right angle; then every measurement is a multiple of five cubits, except the width of the tabernacle cloth, 21 cubits, and the length of the tent cloth, 44 cubits. Each side of the slope would be about 14 cubits, half the width of the tabernacle cloth. The slope extends five feet beyond the wooden walls, and five from the ground.

The tent cloth would hang down one cubit on each side. The tent area (judging from the tabernacle cloth) thus is 10 ft. by 21 ft.; the tent cloth overhanging at the back and front by two cubits, i.e. half a breadth. The wooden structure within the tent would have a space all around it of five cubits in width; here probably were eaten the sacrificial portions of meat not to be taken outside, here too were spaces for the priests, like the small apartments round three sides of the temple. The five pillars must have stood five cubits apart. Each chief measurement of the temple was just twice that of the tabernacle. The holiest place, a square of ten cubits in the tabernacle (according to inference), was 20 cubits in the temple; the holy place in each case was a corresponding double square. The porch, five cubits deep in the tabernacle, was ten cubits in the temple; the side spaces, taking account of the thickness of the temple walls, were five cubits and ten cubits wide respectively; the tabernacle ridge pole was 15 cubits high, that of the temple roof (the holy place) was 30 cubits (1Ki 6:2).

In Eze 41:1 'ohel is "the tent." Josephus (Ant. 3:6, section 4) confirms the view, making the tabernacle consist of three parts: the holiest, the holy place, the entrance with its five pillars, the front being "like a gable and a porch." Fergusson observes, "the description (Exodus 26 and Exodus 36) must have been written by one who had seen the tabernacle standing; no one would have worked it out in such detail without ocular demonstration of the way in which the parts would fit together." The brazen altar and the tabernacle were the two grand objects within the court. The tabernacle was Jehovah's "dwelling place" where He was to "meet" His people or their representatives (Ex 25:8; 29:42-43; 27:21; 28:12). "The tabernacle (tent) of the congregation" (rather "of meeting" without the article) is in the full designation "the tabernacle of the tent of meeting" (Ex 40:2,29), i.e. not of the people meeting one another, but of Jehovah meeting with Moses, the priest, or the "people": "'ohel moed" (Nu 10:3). "The tabernacle (tent) of the testimony" (i.e. having within it the tables of the law) is another name (Ac 7:44; Re 15:5), Hebrew 'eduwth (Ex 38:21, where it ought to be "the testimony".)

The ark contained it; and the lid of the ark, the mercyseat, was the place where Jehovah met or communed with Israel. As the Israelite theocracy was God's kingdom, so the tabernacle was His palace, where the people had audience of God and whence He issued His commands, embodied in the testimony within the ark. The altar of burnt offering outside marks that only through shedding of blood can sinful man be admitted within His courts; and the mercy-seat within the veil, sprinkled with blood of the victim slain outside, typifies Christ, our propitiation or propitiatory within the heavenly holy of holies (Ro 3:25), who is the sinner's only meeting place with God. Once admitted within the courts by the propitiation of Christ, we as king priests can offer incense of prayer and praise, as the priests burnt incense with holy fire on the altar of incense within (Ps 141:2; Mal 1:11). The separation of the church from the world is marked by the exclusion of any but priests from the holy place, and of the people from the congregation while unclean; the need of holiness by the various purifications (compare Psalm 24).

The king-priestly functions belonging to Israel in relation to the world, but declined through slowness of faith (Ex 19:6; 20:19; De 5:27-28), Jehovah keeps for them against Israel's restoration (Isa 61:6; 66:21). The tabernacle represents God dwelling in the midst of Israel, and Israel drawing nigh to God through atonement and with offerings, prayers, an

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1. By 'the tabernacle' without further qualification, as by the more expressive designation 'tabernacle of the congregation' (RV more correctly 'tent of meeting,' see below), is usually understood the elaborate portable sanctuary which Moses erected at Sinai, in accordance with Divine instructions, as the place of worship for the Hebrew tribes during and after the wilderness wanderings. But modern criticism has revealed the fact that this artistic and costly structure is confined to the Priestly sources of the Pentateuch, and is to be carefully distinguished from a much simpler tent bearing the same name and likewise associated with Moses. The relative historicity of the two 'tents of meeting' will be more fully examined at the close of this article (

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The tabernacle was the tent of Jehovah, called by the same name as the tents of the people in the midst of which it stood. It was also called the sanctuary and the tabernacle of the congregation. The first ordinance given to Moses, after the proclamation of the outline of the law from Sinai, related to the ordering of the tabernacle, its furniture and its service as the type which was to be followed when the people came to their own home and "found a place" for the abode of God. During the forty days of Moses' first retirement with God in Sinai, an exact pattern of the whole was shown him, and all was made according to it.

Ex 25:9,40; 26:30; 39:32,42-43; Nu 8:4; Ac 7:44; Heb 8:5

The description of this plan is preceded by an account of the freewill offerings which the children of Israel were to be asked to make for its execution. I. THE TABERNACLE ITSELF.--

1. Its name. --It was first called a tent or dwelling,

Ex 25:8

because Jehovah as it were, abode there. It was often called tent or tabernacle from its external appearance.

2. Its materials. --The materials were-- (a) Metals: gold, silver and brass. (b) Textile fabrics: blue, purple, scarlet and fine (white) linen, for the production of which Egypt was celebrated; also a fabric of goat's hair, the produce of their own flocks. (c) Skins: of the ram, dyed red, and of the badger. (d) Wood the shittim wood, the timber of the wild acacia of the desert itself, the tree of the "burning bush." (e) Oil, spices and incense for anointing the priests and burning in the tabernacle. (f) Gems: onyx stones and the precious stones for the breastplate of the high priest. The people gave jewels, and plates of gold and silver and brass; wood, skins, hair and linen; the women wove; the rulers offered precious stones, oil, spices and incense; and the artists soon had more than they needed.

Ex 25:1-8; 35:4-29; 36:5-7

The superintendence of the work was intrusted to Bezaleel, of the tribe of Judah, and to Aholiab, of the tribe of Dan, who were skilled in "all manner of workmanship."

Ex 31:2,6; 35:30,34

3. Its structure. --The tabernacle was to comprise three main parts, --the tabernacle more strictly so called, its tent and its covering.

Ex 35:11; 39:33-34; 40:19,34; Nu 3:25

etc. These parts are very clearly distinguished in the Hebrew, but they are confounded in many places of the English version. The tabernacle itself was to consist of curtains of fine linen woven with colored figures of cherubim, and a structure of boards which was to contain the holy place and the most holy place; the tent was to be a true tent of goat's hair cloth, to contain and shelter the tabernacle; the covering was to be of red ram-skins and seal-skins,

Ex 25:5

and was spread over the goat's hair tent as an additional protection against the weather. It was an oblong rectangular structure, 30 cubits in length by 10 in width (45 feet by 15), and 10 in height; the interior being divided into two chambers, the first or outer, of 20 cubits in length, the inner, of 10 cubits, and consequently and exact cube. The former was the holy place, or first tabernacle,

Heb 9:2

containing the golden candlestick on one side, the table of shew-bread opposite, and between them in the centre the altar of incense. The latter was the most holy place, or the holy of holies, containing the ark, surmounted by the cherubim, with the two tables inside. The two sides and the farther or west end were enclosed by boards of shittim wood overlaid with gold, twenty on the north and twenty on the south side, six on the west side, and the corner-boards doubled. They stood upright, edge to edge, their lower ends being made with tenons, which dropped into sockets of silver, and the corner-boards being coupled at the tope with rings. They were furnished with golden rings, through which passed bars of shittim wood, overlaid with gold, five to each side, and the middle bar passing from end to end, so as to brace the whole together. Four successive coverings of curtains looped together were placed over the open top and fell down over the sides. The first or inmost was a splendid fabric of linen, embroidered with figures of cherubim in blue, purple and scarlet, and looped together by golden fastenings. It seems probable that the ends of this set of curtains hung down within the tabernacle, forming a sumptuous tapestry. The second was a covering of goats' hair; the third, of ram-skins dyed red and the outermost, of badger-skins (so called in our version; but the Hebrew word probably signifies seal-skins). It has been commonly supposed that these coverings were thrown over the wall, as a pall is thrown over a coffin; but this would have allowed every drop of rain that fell on the tabernacle to fall through; for, however tightly the curtains might be stretched, the water could never run over the edge, and the sheep-skins would only make the matter worse as when wetted their weight would depress the centre and probably tear any curtain that could be made. There can be no reasonable doubt that the tent had a ridge, as all tents have had from the days of Moses down to the present time. The front of the sanctuary was closed by a hanging of fine linen, embroidered in blue, purple and scarlet, and supported by golden hooks on five pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold and standing in brass sockets; and the covering of goat's hair was so made as to fall down over this when required. A more sumptuous curtain of the same kind, embroidered with cherubim hung on four such pillars, with silver sockets, divided the holy from the most holy place. It was called the veil, (Sometimes the second veil, either is reference to the first, at the entrance of the holy place, or as below the vail of the second sanctuary;)

Heb 9:3

as it hid from the eyes of all but the high priest the inmost sanctuary, where Jehovah dwells on his mercy-seat, between the cherubim above the ark. Hence "to enter within the veil" is to have the closest access to God. It was only passed by the high priest once a year, on the Day of Atonement in token of the mediation of Christ, who with his own blood hath entered for us within the veil which separates God's own abode from earth.

Heb 6:19

In the temple, the solemn barrier was at length profaned by a Roman conqueror, to warn the Jews that the privileges they had forfeited were "ready to vanish away;" and the veil was at last rent by the hand of God himself, at the same moment that the body of Christ was rent upon the cross, to indicate that the entrance into the holiest of all is now laid open to all believers by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh."

Heb 10:19-20

The holy place was only entered by the priests daily, to offer incense at the time of morning and evening prayer, and to renew the lights on the golden candlesticks; and on the sabbath, to remove the old shew-bread, and to place the new upon the table. II. THE SACRED FURNITURE AND INSTRUMENTS OF THE TABERNACLE. --These are described in separate articles, and therefore it is only necessary to give a list of them here.

1. In the outer court. The altar of burnt offering and the brazen laver. [ALTAR; LAVER]

See Altar

See Laver

2. In the holy place. The furniture of the court was connected with sacrifice; that of the sanctuary itself with the deeper mysteries of mediation and access to God. The first sanctuary contained three objects: the altar of incense in the centre, so as to be directly in front of the ark of the covenant

1Ki 6:22

the table of shew-bread on its right or north side, and the golden candlestick on the left or south side. These objects were all considered as being placed before the presence of Jehovah, who dwelt in the holiest of all, though with the veil between. [ALTAR; SHEW-BREAD; CANDLESTICK]

See Altar

See Shewbread

See Candlestick

See Candlestick (2)

3. In the holy of holies, within the veil, and shrouded in darkness, there was but one object, the ark of the covenant, containing the two tables of stone, inscribed with the Ten Commandments. [ARK]

See Ark of the Covenant


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TABERNACLE, in Hebrew, ???, in Greek, ?????, a word which properly signifies a tent, but is particularly applied by the Hebrews to a kind of building in the form of a tent, set up by the express command of God, for the performance of religious worship, sacrifices, &c, during the journeyings of the Israelites in the wilderness; and after their settlement in the land of Canaan made use of for the same purpose, till the temple was built in Jerusalem. The tabernacle was covered with curtains and skins. It was divided into two parts, the one covered, and properly called the tabernacle, and the other open, called the court. The covered part was again divided into two parts, the one called holy, and the other called the holy of holies. The curtains which covered it were made of linen of several colours embroidered. There were ten curtains, twenty-eight cubits long, and four in breadth. Five curtains together made two coverings, which, being made fast together, enveloped all the tabernacle. Over the rest there were two other coverings, the one of goat's hair, and the other of sheep skins. These rails or coverings were laid on a square frame of planks, resting on bases. There were forty-eight large planks, each a cubit and a half wide, and ten cubits high; twenty of them on each side, and six at one end to the westward; each plank was supported by two silver bases; they were let into one another, and held by bars running the length of the planks. The holy of holies was parted from the rest of the tabernacle by a curtain, made fast to four pillars standing ten cubits from the end. The whole length of the tabernacle was thirty-two cubits, that is, about fifty feet; and the breadth twelve cubits, or nineteen feet. The end was thirty cubits high; the upper curtain hung on the north and south sides eight cubits, and on the east and west four cubits. The court was a place a hundred cubits long, and fifty in breadth, inclosed by twenty columns, each of them twenty cubits high, and ten in breadth, covered with silver, and standing on copper bases, five cubits distant from each other, between which there were curtains drawn, and fastened with hooks. At the east end was an entrance twenty cubits wide, covered with a curtain hanging loose. In the tabernacle was the ark of the covenant, the table of shew bread, the golden candlestick, and the altar of incense; and in the court opposite to the entrance of the tabernacle, or holy place, stood the altar of burnt- offerings, and the laver or bason for the use of the priests.

The tabernacle was finished on the first day of the first month of the second year after the departure out of Egypt, A.M. 2514. When it was set up, a dark cloud covered it by day, and a fiery cloud by night. Moses went into the tabernacle to consult the Lord. It was placed in the midst of the camp, and the Hebrews were ranged in order about it, according to their several tribes. When the cloud arose from off the tabernacle, they decamped; the priests carried those things which were most sacred, and the Levites all the several parts of the tabernacle. Part of the tribes went before, and the rest followed after, and the baggage of the tabernacle marched in the centre. The tabernacle was brought into the land of Canaan by Joshua, and set up at Gilgal. Here it rested till the land was conquered. Then it was removed to Shiloh, and afterward to Nob. Its next station was Gibeah, and here it continued till the ark was removed to the temple.

The word also means a frail dwelling, Job 11:14; and is put for our bodies, 2Co 5:1.

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