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105 - A Tent Like No Other!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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July 30, 2022 1:00 pm

105 - A Tent Like No Other!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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July 30, 2022 1:00 pm

Episode 105 - A Tent Like No Other! (30 July 2022) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. So, have you ever gone camping in a tent? Oh yeah, Boy Scouts, we had those little pup tents. It's dirty and it's buggy and you have to sweep out the dust that you drag in every time you come and go. And then it rains and you hope it keeps the rain off your head. It's not really a pleasant place. No, not luxurious at all. Well, today we're going to see God's tent in the midst of Israel.

It's not like that at all. No, today on More Than Ink. Well, a wonderful good morning to you. I'm Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we're delighted you're with us and we're delighted to be ourselves. Indeed we are.

Yes, we are. So, we are reading through Exodus and a lot of people never think of Exodus as a book to actually just read. I mean, isn't it the story of them leaving Egypt? So, I know the plot is they get out and everything's cool. People just depend on what they've seen in the movie. Yeah, that's right.

That's right. And once you're past the big action, which is crossing the Red Sea and stuff like that, it seems like this part we're in right now, we're actually in chapter 26, is kind of boring, but it's very intriguing. It's really unusually unexpected. Well, and I think the idea that it's boring comes from the fact that you start into the actual theology part with the Ten Commandments and then there's God said this and God said this and God said this and do this and don't that and that's what most people take away and they kind of wash out in their reading there. But it's really only a few chapters. If you press on, the story develops kind of in between these long sections of talking about what God has said or what God has instructed. But even this is quite fascinating and we made this, we set this up last time is that since we're right now at the top of Mount Sinai and Moses is with God and he's getting all this stuff from God. You know, you remember the scenes you see in the movie where Moses comes down. Oh, we're still at the top of the mountain and God's giving him instructions. But in a very short amount of time here, we're going to move away from Mount Sinai and we're going to continue the trek toward the Promised Land. Everyone gets in their tents and moves their camels and their oxen and we're going on the road again toward the Promised Land. Okay, but they were at Sinai for a year or so. I know, I know. But what I'm getting to is that we're going to break camp here at Sinai.

Eventually. Yeah, and when we do break camp, God wants to travel with them as one of them in a tent, like they are in tents. And so today we're coming to this whole thing about setting up this tent and the tent is called the Tabernacle. It's just a, it's a portable temporary dwelling place and God wants to visibly be seen as living amongst them in this Tabernacle.

And yet he's very specific about what his tent looks like and that's kind of what we're in the middle of right here. Yeah, and the Tabernacle is the central picture in this part of Exodus, right? The big picture is God delivering his people out of Egypt, but when he brought them out into the wilderness, he gave them three things out there. And the primary thing was the Tabernacle, that tent that would move with them. And he gave them manna, he gave them bread every day, and he gave them his word, his law, how to properly relate to him in everyday life.

And so those three things are really the central ideas in this part of the book of Exodus. But we don't want to miss the point that God's intention is to live with his people. Right. And that's why this, that's why this is all happening.

God's intention is to want, he wants to live in their midst. In fact, I mean to give you a little plot spoiler, and not too long after we get on the road again for the Promised Land, he actually spells out how they're going to do their encampments. Right. Where do you pitch your tents? Right.

Do you just kind of throw them anywhere? Actually, no you don't, but, and we'll get to that, but in the center of the encampment is God's tent. And each tribe had its assigned place in that camp. So God wanted to be visibly in the center amongst his people. And that's what the Tabernacle is for. And we're going to learn a lot about who God is based on what his tent looks like.

And that's what we're going to look at today. Okay, so and we talked last week about those, the furnishings in the central part of God's tent. That holy place really only had a very few things in it.

Pretty sparse. Right? We talked about this last week. The Ark of the Covenant, which was basically a container, a gold box in which was the testimony of God. The Table of the Bread of the Presence, and the lampstand, which was lit all the time. And then there was a fourth thing that was in that tent, but we don't get the details on that for several chapters. And there's probably a reason for that, because it's the Altar of Incense, and it's related to the ministry, the daily ministry of the priests.

And we haven't talked yet about the actual priests. We're just talking about the furnishings in God's tent, in that place where he dwells right in the middle of his people. Okay, so we've got the furnishings figured out, except for one we haven't gotten to yet. But we haven't talked about what the tent looks like at all. And we talked last time that God's tent, God, your house reflects who you are.

Well, God wants to reflect who he is and where he lives and what his environs look like by making his tent look like that to represent. And there's an extraordinary amount of detail here. And that question was ringing in my mind all the way through and kind of reading this to think about it.

Why such careful detail? So I hope we'll circle back to that question after we've read it. So hang in there with us as we read this and see if anything attracts your attention. God wants to make sure his tent represents him. And so here we go, we're in chapter 26. Okay. And for the first time ever, we're going to look at his tent and how it should be constructed. Chapter 26 verse 1.

Okay. Moreover, you shall make a tabernacle with 10 curtains of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns. You shall make them with cherubim skillfully worked into them. The length of each curtain shall be 28 cubits and the breadth of each curtain four cubits and all the curtains shall be the same size. Five curtains shall be coupled to one another and the other five curtains shall be coupled to one another. And you shall make loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain in the first set. Likewise, you shall make loops on the edge of the outermost curtain in the second set. 50 loops you shall make on the one curtain and 50 loops you shall make on the edge of the curtain that's in the second set. The loops shall be opposite one another and you shall make 50 clasps of gold and couple the curtains one to the other with the clasps so that the tabernacle may be a single hole.

Okay. So we're talking tents. So the primary covering structure of a tent is a fabric.

So in this particular case, it's not going to be one layer, but this is the first layer. And the first layer is made out of linen, which is a very expensive, very high quality thing. And it's colored blue and purple and red.

Which were expensive in themselves. These are extravagant colors, but linen is a plant fiber that actually was used in Egypt. It's from flax.

Yeah. And we know that they grew flax in Egypt. It's a very old fabric.

I mean, it goes back way before. But you can still buy linen today. But it's very strong.

It's very absorbent and it dries very fast in the dry heat. So it makes a really excellent wall covering that's right next to where you're going to be. And this would be, you know, this is not your standard tent. This would be a very artistic wall covering. I mean, we're talking about saturated colors and pictures of cherubim. Cherubim woven into the skillfully worked weaving of the wall fabric.

And we're going to talk about that skillfully worked, skillful work, I guess, later on in the book when God says, now he's going to invest gifts in particular people in order to execute all of this detail. But see, I wouldn't expect this for design of a tent. I remember we were camping at Boy Scouts canvas tents. They were just kind of keep the bugs out, keep the water out. But this is really quite extravagant, very artistic, very artistic. And it's interesting that these curtains have such specific dimensions. Remember, it's portable. So every piece of you couldn't just roll up a massive 15 foot by 45 foot square tent and carry it.

It had to break down into pieces that were portable by an individual or a couple of individuals. So that's probably the significance of the size and shape of these panels. So we have these panels that are, I turned it into feet that are six feet wide and 42 feet long, and we've got 10 of those. So, you know, if you if you laid those out on the ground side by side just to make the biggest square you could, it would come out to be 42 feet wide by 60 feet long.

It would be a big thing. Well, they're not going to be quite that way. No, no, but I'm going to say that that is such an unwieldy size piece of fabric. That's why it's in strips so they can take it down, put it back together. And instead of stitching it all together, they put it together with loops, which is interesting. Loops and gold clasps. Gold clasps, yeah. So again, even the even the hardware is made of a precious metal. Yeah, yeah.

So, well, let's move on. This is layer one. That's right, because there are several layers and we're going to get to the other ones.

But this is the layer that would be seen from the inside of the tent. And so when you come in, you'll see these blue, purple, red and cherubim all over it. And we talked about the cherubim last week that they are they represent guardians of God's holiness, or guardians of his throne is where we see them occurring in scripture.

OK, let's read on. Seven. You shall also make curtains of goat's hair for a tent over the tabernacle. OK, so we first had the curtains that were the walls of the tabernacle. Now we're making a tent that goes over the tabernacle. Eleven curtains shall you make and these are goat hair, right?

OK, verse eight. The length of each curtain shall be 30 cubits and the breadth of each curtain four cubits. The 11 curtains shall be the same size. You shall couple five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves. And the sixth curtain you shall double over at the front of the tent. You shall make 50 loops on the edge of the curtain that's outermost in one set and 50 loops on the edge of the curtain that's outermost in the second set. You shall make 50 clasps of bronze and put the clasps into the loops and couple the tent together that it may be a single hole.

OK, so that's a repeated idea. The tent is clasped together so that it functions as a single hole, but it's made up of many parts. So instead of sewing these panels together, you're looping them together. Right, with these clasps.

With the clasps. This time not gold, but bronze. But bronze. Yeah. We might come back to that. Yeah, yeah.

OK, keep going, keep going. And the part that remains of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remains, shall hang over the back of the tabernacle. And the extra that remains in the length of the curtains, the cubit on one side and the cubit on the other side, shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle on this side and that side to cover it. And you shall make for the tent a covering.

Another covering. Of tanned ramskins and a covering of goatskins on top. So you've got four layers now.

Count four layers. You've got the linen inside, then we've got a tent over the tabernacle out of goat's hair. Goat's hair, right. And then we've got a covering over the tent of ramskins and a covering over that of goatskins.

Two different kinds of skins. Right. Yeah. This is thick.

Well. It also seems very watertight. Yes. It would be protected against the elements. Yeah.

It would be able to stand up in a fairly fierce onslaught of sandstorm or dust or whatever. Yeah. And also, if you just do a slight miss over life, you're going to cover up all the cracks. There's no way light's getting in through four layers. That's true.

I hadn't thought about that. So that's a big deal too. So this is a big structure.

It can be assembled in layers and each layer can be disassembled as well. Which is going to be a big deal because pretty soon there's going to be a portion of the Levites whose only job is moving this thing. That's right. To move it.

To take it down, move it, and put it back up. Yeah. Yeah. So we didn't mention last time, but did you see that the goatskins may not actually be goatskins but porpoise skins? Well, sometimes it's translated porpoise, but there's a lot of debate. It's such an ancient word.

Nobody knows exactly what it means. But it's clear that it's some kind of skin. Some kind of skin.

Yeah. So now we have, and it's interesting to note that the size of the goat's hair layer is slightly larger than the size of the original linen layer. But if it's going to lay over it. It goes over top. You want to go over it and overlap and go larger.

So that's what's going on. So when you do a tent, you usually have two basic components. You have the fabric and then you have a frame. So far we don't have a frame. Well before we get to the frame, can we talk about the effect of the four layers being it would be very quiet in there.

Yeah, it should be. Normally in a tent you can hear right through the wall. You can see right through the wall, right? But with all of these layers, then not just the permeable fabric, but the very firm goatskin and the other kind of skin, whatever that is, it would not only be dark, it would be very quiet. It would be insulated. You'd have a sense of definitely separation from the outside elements in there. I've come in contact with a goat's hair tent once.

It's stinky. Yeah, yeah. When I was in Israel some time ago, there was a display, not a display, actually it was kind of a hosting center where you could go and actually have a reception for a wedding and stuff like that. And one part of this area was, they called it Abraham's area. And it was basically a goat skin tent, a goat hair tent. And I remember it was just a little bit higher than my head. My head brushed against it.

So my head was right next to it. It's stinky, but it's kind of like a really coarse felt. And it was really odd in texture.

You'd feel like, what in the world is that? You could see the hairs, but they were pushed together like felt is. And it was really quiet in there. And it was also, the top of that tent that's got the goat's hair was in the direct sun. But in the bottom of my head was, it wasn't that hot. Yeah, it would be insulated. It would be insulated, yeah. So it's kind of an interesting deal.

But it did stink. So there you go. Yeah.

Well, let's go on. What were you going to talk about, about the bronze clasps instead of gold? Well, as we move from the innermost very precious parts of the tabernacle, more toward the outer parts that have to stand up against the elements, it makes sense that we would move toward bronze. There's symbolism also attached to bronze that unfolds in the scripture. And bronze is often associated with judgment. Yeah, that's right.

So we're going to see that come when we come to talk about the bronze altar in a couple of weeks. Yeah. But it's just interesting to me that God was specific enough to say, no, all the hardware is not made out of the same thing. Right. Right. The precious stuff that you see inside is gold. But he wanted to make the precious stuff that represents basically God himself to be the precious gold.

Right. And then, you know, we could talk for days about the symbolism, about the progression of the layers, because you have something that's very artistic, very cherubim-like on the inside with gold clasps on it. And then you move incrementally toward the outside world, and it gets more and more fallen in a sense. I mean, you go from gold to bronze, you go to goat's hair, and then you go to the skins of animals who've been killed.

So there's this kind of progression from the holy to the very common and the kind of fallen. So even this picture of the construction of the tabernacle, it teaches us some things. It says something about God, it says something about how we come into that very innermost place to meet with him, as he said to Moses, I'll meet with you there in between the wings of the cherubim. And it teaches us about ourselves, right? Because it's a three-part building.

And we'll get into this as we go on in the next few weeks. But there's that innermost place where the ark and the precious things are, and then outermost place, the bread of the presence, or outer place, right, the holy place instead of the holy of holies. And then later on, we'll come to the outer court, which was open to the sky, it wasn't covered over. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I'll just point out before we leave the fabric, in Boy Scouts, it was enough just to have a single layer, because that would effectively shield you from rain.

That's all you really needed. But here, there's more of a sense that this is a separation from the world itself. Completely separated. Yeah, like set apart. And although it's in the world, it's not really of the world, it's separated by this fabric that's more than just a protection from rain in the element, it's actually a separation.

And that's an important theological idea, too. Well, let's get to the frame. What do you say? Okay. We've got to figure out how to support this thing.

Okay. So verse 15, you shall make upright frames for the tabernacle of acacia wood. Ten cubits shall be the length of a frame, and a cubit and a half the breadth of each frame. There shall be two tenons in each frame for fitting together. So you shall do for all the frames of the tabernacle. You shall make the frames for the tabernacle, 20 frames for the south side, and 40 bases of silver you shall make under the 20 frames, two bases under one frame for its two tenons, and two bases under the next frame for its two tenons, and for the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side, 20 frames, and there are 40 bases of silver, two bases under one frame, and two bases under the next frame, and for the rear of the tabernacle westward, you shall make six frames, and you shall make two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear. They shall be separate beneath, but joined at the top at the first ring.

Thus it shall be with both of them. They shall form the two corners, and there shall be eight frames with their bases of silver, sixteen bases, two bases under one frame and two bases under another frame. You shall make bars of acacia wood, five for the frames of the one side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the side of the tabernacle at the rear westward. In the middle bar, halfway up the frames, shall run from end to end. You shall overlay the frames with gold, and shall make their rings of gold for holders for the bars, and you shall overlay the bars with gold. Then you shall erect the tabernacle according to the plan for it that you were shown on the mountain." So let me summarize what we have here.

Just do. Just from an engineering perspective. Because we've got some things to say. We're only going to raise up supporting frames on three of the four sides of the tabernacle. On the north side, the south side, which are both 20 frames wide, and then the west side, which is where the Holy of Holies is going to go. So we have on the order of about almost 50 or 60 of these frames, and these frames are very skinny.

They're just a little over two feet wide and 15 feet tall. So there are these push-up frames. Some people think that they're planks of wood. I don't think they are. I think they're open frames.

And I've got a good reason for why. So it's like a rectangle. So to construct this tabernacle, you take 20 of them side by side, and you push them up in the air.

So you have a 15-foot high wall that's 20 frames long. And then you do that on the north side and the south side. And then you do that also on the left on the west side, but you use fewer there.

You use six or eight, depending on how you count it. So it's skinnier on that side. So now you've pushed up all of these frames into the air, and the intention then is going to take the fabric we just had previously and just throw it over the top of these frames. But then you have these bars that run through the middle that stabilize.

So those go horizontally to keep them from wiggling in and out, and they're held in by rings as well. So you have kind of a nice structure of these poles, Acacia poles, but they're pre-made in frames. But think of having almost 60.

60 is more like 50. It's more like 50 of these frames that you're toting around with you all the time. And the frames are just two feet wide and 15 feet tall, and you're going to push them up into the air and attach them all together with bars and rings. So 15 feet is pretty tall. That's really tall. I mean, in our standard construction today, that's two stories.

If you have a two-story building, they usually measure around 18 feet for two stories. So it's probably safe to say that the tabernacle would be the tallest building in the camp. Very much so. So where you were in the camp, you would be able to see the top of it. Yeah.

Yeah, very much so. So now we have these push-up frames tied together with bars. We're going to throw the cloth over the top of them. But what's disturbing is we don't have anything on one whole side of this four-sided structure. Well, we're going to get that instruction later. That's coming next time. Exactly. At this point in the instructions, the east side is open, and everybody knows about the veil of the temple, but we don't get that instruction just yet.

Right. So we're still missing some fabric instructions. We're missing some important things, because at this point, we've just been told about the ark, the table of the Bread of the Presence, and the lampstand, and they're going to be in this room, right? But we know that later on, there's coming a veil that will separate the ark from the rest.

Yeah, and that's going to be important. So the structure's not done, but we do have the outer structure done right here in terms of how you put up this tabernacle. To kind of summarize this, though, since we've just got a couple of minutes left, if someone in the village, and you're a priest, because you're a priest going here, and other people don't, if you're a priest that goes in, and you see the construction at this stage, and someone in the village says, well, when you go in there, what does it look like? What would you describe to them as you walked in, what would you see at this stage of things with this much put together? It's huge.

It's huge for one thing. It's really tall, taller than anybody, rationally, would erect a tent. Ten feet tall, about, how deep is it, about forty-five feet?

Forty-five feet from the front to the back. Yeah, and then what would you see around the walls and on the ceiling? Gold. Gold rings, fine linen.

It says fine linen with beautiful colors. Deep saturated colors in it, and artistic workings of cherubim all over it. This is not like anything anybody else has in their tent.

No, no. This is a place set apart. In fact, you could say to the villager, you could say, I walk in, and you're surrounded by colors and cherubim.

Everywhere you look, to the left, to the right, to the rear, overhead, you're surrounded by numerous cherubim. And it's very quiet. And it's very quiet.

Because it's insulated from the outside. And so far, we haven't closed up the entry, but it would be darker there if it wasn't for a lampstand. I mean, it's a big vacuous space, but it's not done yet, because we still need to separate it into two rooms.

And we also still need to figure out how to separate the two rooms, and we need to figure out something to do about the entrance, which we've talked nothing about yet, that everyone walks in through. But it would be really a stunning thing. I think almost, it would be awe-inspiring to walk in the middle of this gigantic, very quiet room, surrounded by numerous angels and cherubim, and these deeply, deeply saturated colors of royalty and expense. I mean, it would just take your breath away.

But on top of that, the counterweights at the base of all these panels, to hold them down on the ground, is made out of solid bars of silver. It's crazy. I mean, it would be just awe-inspiring as you walk in and say, this is unlike anything I have ever seen on the earth anywhere. And it's meant to do that. It's meant to tell you that this is not the earth. This is something that represents God's tent. God's tent among you.

And this looks more like His real home than anything you've ever walked into before, which should give you pause to walk very far into it, because this is where… Well, indeed, nobody goes in there, except the priests, into the holy place to take care of the bread and the lighting of the lamps. So at this point, they could see it. But you could see it, yeah. Well, it's not built yet. We're still on the mountain giving the instructions.

I know. But I'm just envisioning, as we're kind of thinking about what this looks like at this stage of construction, what it looks like. That's why I think the frames actually were just poles in a rectangle, so you could actually see through them and see the linen on the other side of them.

So you'd see these poles holding up. You'd see the… Anyway, there we go. Well, we've got one minute left. What are we going to next time? We haven't finished the tabernacle, so you already mentioned it. I think we're going to the veil. We are, to separate the holy place from the most holy place.

Because we've got to separate it in two big rooms. Right. And we're going to do something about the entry.

There's a screen. Well, yes. But this is kind of the end of the part of what's right inside the tent. Right.

Right. We're going to now start talking about the outer stuff, the altar and other things coming. Well, we're going to do the veil, too. Yeah, but the veil is kind of the finish of that part. That's a very important part of the inside.

Yeah. It's the interior wall. You know, just bear in mind that when you've entered God's tent, what do you find in there? You find the bread of His presence, the place where He nourishes you. You find the lampstand, God Himself giving you illumination. And you find the Ark of the Covenant, that container that contains His word, that very precious place where He meets with you. And you're surrounded by cherubim. And it says in Ezekiel that the Lord is enthroned above the cherubim.

It looks like where He lives. Well, join us next time. We're going to complete filling out the tabernacle and God's tent, and we'll learn more about who He is and where He comes from and what everything's all about. So come back with us next time on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, Wait what? You're confusing me. Let's start over. You're confusing me.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-18 08:27:54 / 2023-03-18 08:41:30 / 14

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