We have talked about the Mishkan extensively in other teachings, but we are going to touch on a few other things found in Exo 25 through 27. These chapters will be telling us about the Mishkan and we have mentioned before that the Mishkan was seen as a miniature Garden of Eden. In addition, the Mishkan, and later the Temple, was seen as an extension of Mount Sinai (more on that later). It was where God taught the people about the concept of Kedusha.
When Adam was created he had a kedusha, but after he sinned he lost it. Eventually this concept was lost among men. At Mount Sinai, this concept was reintroduced to Moses and then transferred to the Mishkan once it was built. Anything pertaining to man’s fall is excluded at Sinai and in the Mishkan/Temple.
Exo 25.1-9 talks about a contribution (“Terumah”) that the people were to give for the building of the Mishkan. Where did the gold, silver and materials come from? It came from the Egyptians when they left (Exo 3.22; 12.35-36). The Lord said, “Take a contribution” not “give an offering.” The Sanctuary was where the spiritual and the physical met, God and man. But, we should not focus on the external.
If you take the Hebrew letter “mem” out of the word “terumah” you have the word “Torah” in Hebrew. The numerical value is 40, alluding to the 40 days and nights Moses was on Sinai. 40 is the number of testing. Studying and obeying the Torah is a “terumah” or an elevated contribution to the Lord, and we can contribute to the construction of our Mishkan (the body of Messiah) where the Shekinah can dwell (1 Cor 6.19-20; 1 Cor 12.27; Jer 7.4; Mal 3.1; 1 Pet 2.4-10). When the Lord spoke from a mountain, it was so powerful that it went right to the heart. There will be no need for a Mishkan or a Temple eventually (Jer 31.31-34; Rev 21.22). But, Israel went into idolatry very soon after this instruction about the Mishkan at the incident of the Golden Calf.
The word “Mishkan” is an interesting word. In Exo 25.8-9 God said they were to make a “sanctuary.” The word in Hebrew is “Mikdash” which means “kedusha.” They were to make a “tabernacle” or a Mishkan so that “I may dwell within them.” In Hebrew, it is “Asooli mikdash v’shkanti b’tawcham.” You can see the relationship in Hebrew between the word “shkanti” (I will dwell), “mishkan” (tabernacle) and “shekinah” (dwelling presence). All come from the same Hebrew root “shkn.”
The Lord was not only going to build a sanctuary, he was going to build a sanctuary within the people. It was more important for the Lord to make his presence in our hearts as a body than it was to make a sanctuary of cloth, metal and stone. Yeshua came to raise up the tabernacle in all of us. We have gone over this before in earlier teachings.
The Mishkan was made to be a “house of Kedusha.” When the people traveled, they could not take Mount Sinai with them, so the Mishkan was built so they could take the kedusha that was on Mount Sinai with them. The Mishkan had symbols that tell us what God is doing for us. What is deep inside us? What does God find? Would he find the Torah/commandments in our Ark/heart?
Adam had a kedusha about him. This kedusha involved the Shekinah (presence of God), the Kivod (glory of God) and the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit-the power of God). Yeshua is the second Adam and he came to restore all of this back to mankind. There was that moment when the Shekinah, Kivod and Ruach Ha Kodesh came into the Mishkan or the Temple. The altar was “fired up” and the other manifestations were sensed and known. It is the same with the body of Messiah.
The Lord came to the Mishkan because it was a benefit to Israel, and it is the same with his body. Why would the Lord want to be with any of us? Why does he persist with us? These manifestations appeared at Mount Sinai, and later the Mishkan and the Temple. In Acts 2 they came upon the body of Messiah gathered at the Temple on Shavuot. That is because the Lord wants to be with us. What would happen if the richest person in the world came to stay with us? He would probably see we needed something and would meet that need. It is to our own benefit that he came to be with us.
Since we are talking about a contribution to the Lord, how do we give? Well, there is tithing but we can’t do biblical tithing today because there is no Temple, priesthood, holy things and we don’t live in the land. Tithing cannot be done today. Tithing involved agriculture, not money. They tithed if they lived off the land of Israel, and the tithe was given to the Levites or taken to the Temple. So, tithing cannot be done, but biblical giving can be, so let’s talk about that.
There is a concept called “secret giving.” There was a special room in the Temple where people came in and either gave or took money. Nobody knew what the person did but they believed God would reward the person in his own way. So, we can vive secretly. There is another level of giving and that is when you give all you have. We see this in the story of the “Widow’s Mite” (Mark 12.43). She gave everything, the rich young ruler didn’t (Mark 10.21).
There were other levels of giving like the “corners of the field.” A person that left extra on the corners was considered as having a “good eye” (generous) and it was giving. The person that left very little at the corners was said to have an “evil eye” (stingy). Then there was the “gleanings” like Boaz did for Ruth, and alms and so on.
This terumah is given from their abundance. It was not a secret, not a command and not all they had. The word terumah is similar to “Teruah” if you remove the Hebrew letter “mem.” The teruah is a trumpet blast. Yeshua makes a play on words in Matt 6.2 by saying, “Do not sound a trumpet (teruah) when you give alms.” There were receptacles in the Temple shaped like trumpets. How does that apply? Some people give and expect “special consideration” from the speaker, or minister. Maybe they expect that minister to spend more time with them due to his gift, or they would have a plaque or brick laid somewhere with their name on it. But our response should be to let the Lord do what he is going to do and to give graciously and be content.
God built the Mishkan from the inside out. He started with the Ark, then the Table of Bread, Menorah and the sanctuary to house them. Then came the veil, the bronze altar and the partitions, tents and courts. These things we would expect to find in a Temple. However, some things are missing on the list. We don’t see the Golden Altar.
The Golden Altar of Incense relates to our prayers, so the Father sees us flanked by the Menorah (light/understanding) and the Table of Bread (provision, the Word). When we pray, we know that a thing can be established with two witnesses. Each one aids us in what we pray. We pray with light and understanding and with what is in line with the Word of God. The greatest day in the life of a priest was to be chosen to go into the Heichal and put incense on the Golden Altar. The whole nation waited for this moment in the daily Temple service. To do this, you had to be chosen by lot (Luke 1.9), and you could only do this one time in your life. It was as close as they would come to the Kodesh Ha Kodeshim and the Ark.
Spiritually, we get to put incense (prayer) on our Golden Altar. The veil (paroket) teaches us that there is a partition to and a mystery to our faith. It is to teach us we need to know the Lord more and to not get to the point that we have the Lord all figured out. There is that part in our walk that says we must do things his way. There are hidden things he knows about and we don’t, so we need to follow him. We can never be snug about this. The veil being torn tells us that there is a deeper revelation coming.
We will pick up here in Part 79.