Now we are going to look at the boards of the Mishkan in Exo 26.15-30. They were vertical and were also called “beams.” They were 19.2 feet long and they went around the south and north side, twenty boards on each side. On the west end there were 6 boards. Two other boards connected the corners (Exo 26.24) showing that the Mishkan was square, nor circular as some think. These boards were made from acacia wood (or “shittim” wood), so let’s look at the acacia tree and apply some spiritual lessons to it..
It is a crooked tree when you look at it, but inside there is a potential board overlaid with gold, but you must be skilled enough to see it. It needed to be cut down after it was marked for its potential. This is like us. God sees us “crooked” and a sinner, but only he can see the potential in us because it is he who selects us, and we have been marked since before the foundation of the world (Eph 1.4). We have potential because he is going to impart his life into us. He sees us and he knows that we must be severed from our roots first. That could mean family, friends, where we live, a job, or many other things. A sharp saw will be needed, which is like the Word of God, which is sharp (Heb 4.12).
The tree is cut down and then it will lay there helpless, then the process of getting a log begins. The branches are cut off and the bulges and the crooked places are made straight. The tree must die in order to be used in the service of its maker. This can be a painful process for us. Every workman will seem “irksome” and rough but it is needed. The moisture and sap inside must be drained out (anger, bitterness, etc). There are further cuttings done until it is exactly the size needed and it “fits.” Then it is overlaid with gold, like we will be overlaid with the glory of God.
Now, we have an eschatological picture in these verses. We learn in Exo 26.22 that the west side had six boards. This is alluded to in Heb 6.18 where the Holy of Holies is described as a seventh place of refuge. There were six cities of refuge mentioned in Num 35.6, and in the Holy of Holies there were six boards on the west (towards God).
Heb 6.18 is related to our salvation and the Mishkan was the seventh place of refuge. Heb 6.18-19 says that believers have “fled for refuge” inside the veil. The sinner flees for refuge into God’s presence.
Are we guilty of of sin? Did our sins “kill” Yeshua? Is that murder? If so, the avenger of blood will take a sinner out and slay him. What is the purpose for the city of refuge? If there was a suspected murder, the avenger of blood (kinsman) can overtake the slayer and slay him. But if he goes to the city of refuge, then the suspect cannot be touched, and the case is investigated. If it was accidental manslaughter, then he can stay in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. If he is found to be a murderer, the avenger of blood can slay him as a murderer.
Now, if a sinner rejects Yeshua deliberately, the blood of Yeshua is on the hands of the sinner. The person who has faith and comes to the Lord, even though his sin caused his death, doesn’t realize the end result, so he is guilty of manslaughter. He is allowed to stay in the “refuge” as long as the high priest lives, and Yeshua lives forever (Heb 6.20, 7.24-25; John 3.18). His life is spared forever.
We learn that there are five bars that are for the boards and they will run horizontal. The middle bar goes from “end to end” and the other four bars compliment the middle bar. This is a chiastic structure. The middle bar speaks of the Messiah who is eternal. He goes from “end (pre-creation) to end (Olam Haba). He is the “shammash” of the vine like in a menorah (Mic 5.2; Rev 22.13; John 1.1-3). The five books of Torah are chiastic, with Leviticus being the central book because it is a book about Kedusha. The Mishkan was erected according to the plan that God gave Moses. The word “plan” is “mishpato” meaning judgement, court and justice. Like the Scriptures, the Mishkan foretells the coming of the Messiah in these bars and he is eternal (Exo 26.30).
Now we are going to talk about directions used in these verses. We are going to use as a source the Stone Chumash, Mesorah Publications, p. 457, where it says, “It is obvious that the word “mizrach” (east) is derived from “zerach”, the shining of the sun, and “ma’erev”, west, is derived from “zerev”, evening or the setting of the sun. Rambam explains the derivation of the other names for the various directions. Unlike the commonly used secular system that uses north as the primary point of reference, so that all maps have north on top, the Torah’s system assigns the role to the east, as will be seen below. East is primary because it is natural for people to look toward the sun, which rises in the east, and for this reason the east is nicknamed “kerem”, forward. Conversely,, west is nicknamed “achar”, rear (this word is used in Gen 22.13; Exo 3.1), because it is in back of someone facing eastward. The west is also nicknamed “yam”, sea, because the Mediterranean Sea is the western boundary of Eretz Israel. The proper name for south is “tayman”, and it is nicknamed “negev” which means dry, after the southern desert of Eretz Israel. Its other name, “darom” is a contraction of the word “dar rom”, dwelling on high, because as one goes south from Eretz Israel, the sun is higher in the sky. North is called “zaphon”, hidden, because as one goes toward the north, the sun is seen less and less, and in the extreme north it does not rise at all for part of the year. The south is also called “yamin”, right, and the north “shm’owl”, left, because they are on those sides of a person facing east, the primary direction.”
So, in Exo 26.18, south is “negev”, north in verse 20 is “zaphon” and west in verse 22 is “yamah” (yam is the sea). Yamah is the feminine form of yam (sea). What is it referring to? It refers to the Mediterranean Sea. But, where are they building the Mishkan? They are not in Israel, they are at Mount Sinai. The sea that is west of them there is the Gulf of Aqaba. So, as you can see, the words in these verses are not the typical words for these directions. In secular maps, north is the primary direction of reference. But in the Torah, it is east.
Exo 26.31-33 speaks about the veil, or “paroket.” There were four posts between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place. This veil was the work of skilled workmen (“choshev”) who were able to make figures of keruvim (cherubim) appear on both sides of the veil. At the entry into the Holy Place, there will be five posts. The Ark is brought in, and the Paroket (veil) is hung as a partition between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place. The poles of the Ark poked through against this paroket, and this veil separated between two levels of kedusha.
In Exo 26.34-37 says that the High Priest had the Shulchan Lechem Ha Pannim (Table of the Bread of the Faces), the Mizbeach Shell Zahav (Golden Incense Altar) and the Menorah brought into the Holy Place. Exo 26.36-37 says they they made a “misak” (screen) for the doorway into the Holy Place, which had five posts. In Isa 22.8, this word “misak” is translated as “defense” in the NASB, but it is “covering” in the KJV. In addition, Isa 22.8 mentions the “House of the Forest”, which is the House of the Forest of Lebanon in the First Temple, and it was an armory (1 Kings 7.2, 10.1`7, 10.21, 14.25-26). It was called the Beit Ha Otzrot (House of the Forest) in the Second Temple. This building was in Judah’s portion, and just north of there was the portion that Benjamin had.
It is believed that the four corner buildings of the Temple had domes on top of them, and these domes were made of brass. What Isa 22.8 is saying is, King Hezekiah (“they”) took the brass off of the House of the Forest of Lebanon (“misak” is this covering of brass) in Judah’s portion to finance the projects Hezekiah needed to finance in order to fortify Jerusalem against the Assyrians.
In Part 29 we will pick up with these five pillars and show how they are associated with the concept of the “Yotaid” (peg, nail) which is alluding to either the Messiah or the False Messiah.