When it comes to understanding the Tabernacle, several books which have been published in the past years, many of which do an excellent job to explain messianic foreshadows found in the Tabernacle. I highly recommend The Tabernacle: Shadows of the Messiah, written by David M. Levy, which is the book I feel is the best introduction into the subject. Judson Cornwall wrote a great book, Let Us Draw Near. I give a warning about that one though, since its writing style is difficult to get used to, but the information, particularly regarding the table, is excellent. Perry Stone also has a great deal of insight into this topic, as he does in most things.
Still, none of the books I own have any of the information the Holy Spirit revealed to me this summer. It fascinated me, since He revealed most of it within an hour of my asking for more knowledge about the robes of the cohen gadol (High Priest). Before explaining what was revealed, it is important to understand the Tabernacle. This is a basic map of the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle was a sort of mobile temple which Moses was instructed to build for the children of Israel while wandering the desert. There are no “prophecies” in the Tabernacle, which is a blatant description of the future Christ, but rather “foreshadows.” These are images which point forward to Christ through their shape or the rituals built around them.
For this blog post, I’m going to only discuss the three rooms: The Outer Court, The Holy Place, and The Most Holy Place. They correlate to the cohen gadol’s robes, his crown, and the minisry of Yeshua (Jesus).
The Outer Court
The outer court was surrounded by a linen fence. This is where sacrifices were offered, and anyone could come, Jew or Gentile. For the average person, this is as far as they could come in God’s mobile temple. There was some fellowship here, since people could pray, worship, hear the Torah read once every three years, and have their sacrifices offered. Still, compared to the cohen (priests), the average person had an extremely limited availability to the Shechina presence of God which dwelled in the Tabernacle.
The Rabinic View
To the traditional rabbis, this court represents the Earth. Linen, they say, grows out of the earth, and explains why this court was surrounded by the linen fence. The Earthly realm has an extremely limited connection with God, just as the Outer Court did.
Brit Chadashah (New Covenant)
To a New Covenant believer, this court represents the First covenant. Under the Law, there was a limited relationship with God. Even Moses expressed a desire for everyone to have the Holy Spirit, which, at the time, was not a reality.
The Holy Place
The second room, The Holy Place, is where the cohen were allowed. This room had the seven-branched, golden menorah, the Table which had the twelve pieces of Showbread, the incense alter, and a veil at the far end of the room. The entire room was lined with gold, and the ceiling was covered in blue, red, and violet fabric. Cherubim were sewn into the design.
The Rabinic View
According to rabbis, this room represents the heavens (sky). The sky is referred to as the realm of God. To support this idea is the seven-branched lampstand, which they say represents the seven days of the week, and the six planets which revolve around the sun, the bread of presence, in which the twelve pieces of bread represent the twelve months, and the blue fabric, which represents the sky.
To a New Covenant believer, this room is the current covenant. The seven-branched lampstand may represent the Seven Churches (Revelation 1-3), the Seven Spirits of God (Isaiah 11:1-2, Revelation 4), and the lampstand seen in Zechariah 4. The Table represents communion, in which the saved community intakes bread as the very presence of God. Finally, the incense alter is prayer (Revelation 8:4).
Next was a view which seperated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. This veil was about eighteen inches thick, which made it practically untearable by any human source. It hid the cohen from the presence of God, who was in the Holy of Holies.
The Holy of Holies
The Holy of Holies (or the Most Holy Place), was the inner chamber of the Tabernacle It was a perfect cube, and had the Ark of the Covenant. Once a year, the cohen gadol would come in and put the blood of the atonement lamb onto a special part of the Ark, the Mercy Seat, where God Himself sat between two carvings of angels. If the cohen gadol, or anyone else, came at any other time, or was imperfect in any way, he would die.
According to both rabbis and Christians, this room represents Heaven, the spiritual abode of the Most High. Believers relate the cubed room to the cube shaped New Jerusalem found in Revelation 21-22. This is the final form of existence man has with God, and it never ends.
Yeshua (Jesus) entered Heaven as the cohen gadol with His own blood so we could enter into a personal relationship with God.
The Tabernacle is a picture of Christ’s first ministry on the Earth. There was nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him, as the Scripture says in Isaiah, but internally, he was beautiful. The tabernacle would cost millions to make by today’s standards, since the interior shone due to all the gold. Yet, on the outside, the Tabernacle was not an extremely attractive tent. It was sort of bland. This shows Christ’s nature during His first ministry: not as impressive on the outside, but inwardly beautiful.
Each of the courts equates to a layer of the High Priest’s garment.
The Robes and the Tabernacle
First of all, the cohen gadol had to put on linen undergarments and a linen tunic. This equated to the linen fence and Outer Court which one first entered into.
Next, he put on a blue tunic with bells on the bottom. The bells were said to be reminiscent of thunder, the voice of God, while the blue refers to the sky. Since this robe is a reference to the heavens, it equates to the Holy Place.
Next, there was the ephod, which bears resemblance to both the innermost covering of the Tabernacle and the veil. Since this pattern seems progressive, it might be assumed to be the veil.
Lastly, there was the breastplate, which was square and had four precious stones on it. This equated to the cubed Holy of Holies.
The Robes and the Crown
These robes have an interesting parralel with the crown of the cohen gadol. The cohen gadol had three parts to his crown: the golden Tzitz, which was inscribed with “Holiness unto the Lord”, two blue threads, and a linen turban which was twenty-six feet long.
Notice that the linen turban relates to the linen tunic, while the blue thread is similar to the second tunic, and the golden Tzitz is relatable to the ephod, since the ephod had gold thread in it.
According to the rabbis, this crown showed the three crowns one could receive: the crown of a priest, king, or prophet.
Yeshua (Jesus) had the role of a prophet first (which would seem to be the linen turban), currently is a high priest (probably the blue threads), and some day, He will take up his rightful place on the throne of David, thus making him a king (the gold tzitz).
Here’s a great video about a modern day tziz:
The Robes and Yeshua- 1 John 5:8
The Scripture says that three things agree on the identity of Christ: Spirit, Water, and the blood. These are seen in the three robes. The blood is shown in the ephod, which had red fabric. The blue robe, most clearly, symbolizes the water. The white robe represents the Spirit.
Yeshua, the blue tunic, and the seamless tunic
The blue tunic was seamless, and, as stated, represented the heavens. While on Earth, one of the two garments of clothing Yeshua (Jesus) is mentioned wearing is seamless (John 19:23). While some have said this was an undergarment, the text seems to suggest it was longer than that. It could be a reference to the cohen gadol’s second tunic. Why wasn’t it blue? Because Yehsua had given up his Heavenly position for one as a lowly man. In return, we may obtain His righteousness.
Yeshua and the order of the robes
Finally, these robes show the progression for the character of Christ.
The Undergarments- the secret
First, at the beginning of the world, He could be called the great secret of God. In fact, a name of His in the Old Testament is פִּלְאִי (piliy) (Judges 13:18, Psalms 139:6)(The word “wonderful” is a prophetic name for Christ, Isaiah 9:6, although the Hebrew word here is different, although almost identical: פֶּלֶא). Which means, “wonderful,” and “secret.” It is a prophetic name for Christ. He was the secret reserved until the time of the end (Hebrews 1:2). Yeshua took the secret, invisible nature of God, and made it visible to the whole world. And yet, He hid His divine nature in flesh.
Look at the name YHVH.
It is made of four Hebrew letters: Yud, Hey, Vav, Hey. Every Hebrew letter has a picture, number, and word meaning that goes along with it. Here’s the pictures for YHVH
The first letter is Yud, which is a picture of a hand. The next is Hey, which is the only letter without a picture. The next, vav, is a nail. Lastly, there’s another Hey. Half the name of God is invisible, it’s a mystery. Yet, what we do know is there is a hand and a nail, showing the sacrificial nature shown by Christ has always been present in God.
Some have prefered to see the hey being there for it’s number, which is five. According to E. W. Bullinger, in Number in Scripture, the number five is the number of grace. This is correct, and thus makes the name YHVH a hand, with a nail surrounded by grace. While this is a fine interpretation, when dealing with symbols, I prefer the mystery components previously stated. The reason for this is found in the spelling of Yeshua’s name:
Yud, shin, vav, ayin. Yud and vav are in the same place. Notice the invisible letters have been made visible, the mystery is revealed! One letter is even an ayin, which is a picture of an eye. The other is shin, which may be see either as a tooth or fire. Fire reminds one of light, which brings about perception, or the Holy Spirit.
This secret stage and revelation of Christ is shown in the undergarments and tunic of the cohen gadol. First, the undergarments are secretive. But then, there’s a public robe, which represents the Earthly realm. Christ came from the secret place, and went into the public, earthly world as a man.
The blue tunic- the ascension
After this, He ascended into the Heavens. This is shown by the blue robe. This is where He is today, sitting at the right hand of the Father in Heaven.
The Ephod- His millineum
Then, there’s the ephod with the gold thread. This is when the secret nature of Yeshua (Jesus) is revealed for who He truly is: a king. In the Tabernacle (the picture of His first ministry) this nature was internal. But in the coming age, no one will be able to deny who He is. He’ll be on the throne in a Millineal Age, as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. The internal has been seen by all.
The breastplate- The New Jerusalem
Finally, there’s the breastplate. When the millenium is done, we will live with Him forever in the New Jerusalem. The breastplate was a gold frame around twelve precious stones, like the New Jerusalem which will be founded on twelve precious stones. This is the final stage, and the one to be most highly anticipated.
So, in summation:
Tabernacle Cohen Gadol Rabbinic Crown Messiah’s ministry
The Outer Court – The linen robes - Earth – The linen Turban - Yeshua’s secret and earthly ministry.
The Holy Place - The blue robe - heaven – The blue strings -Yeshua’s ascending into the heavens
The Veil - The ephod - none - none - millenium
The Holy of Holies – The Breastplate – Heaven – Tzitz- New Jerusalem
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