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125 - Lumber and Linen

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
December 17, 2022 1:00 pm

125 - Lumber and Linen

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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December 17, 2022 1:00 pm

Episode 125 - Lumber and Linen (17 Dec 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 we have always loved camping. Oh yeah, all the way back and we started in tents. When you had to argue over getting those poles set up. That was the hardest part.

Pretty hard. But once they were up and you put the fabric on, you had a nice cozy run. Well, today we're going to continue to put up the tabernacle tent today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning and welcome. I'm Dorothy.

And I'm Jim. And here we are sitting at our dining room table, just getting ready to talk about the building of the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness. And last week we talked about, we read in chapter 35 about the curtains that were woven and two layers of curtains and then that ram skin thing that went over the top. And today we're going to move in later into chapter 36 and talk about the framework that held it all up.

Keeps it up off the ground. Yeah, that you have to drape all that fabric over something to keep it upright. So we haven't finished all the textiles.

We'll look at that today. We still got some veils and things like that. But, you know, we're going to start this morning with these frames that are going to hold the whole thing up in the air. How important is a framework?

Yeah, very much so. And you know what I was thinking, too. When you build the frame of a house, today we build the framing in our house.

Do you see those two before? So the ceiling's at about eight feet high. These frames are going to be twice that. So think twice as high as your living room ceiling.

That's how tall these are going to hold up the cloth above your head, like 15 feet in the air. So that's what we're building, a series of frames that they're going to couple together and hold the cloth up and actually make a tent room off of these frames. So that's what we're doing today. We're building two-by-fours, sort of, out of the kitchen. We're making frames.

Yeah, so let's get into it. Last time, okay, so you said we made the coverings. So you got the fine linen coverings, which are colored and have artwork on them on the inner part. Then you got goat's hair, you know, which is interesting. People can contribute expensive linen, but if they didn't have expensive linen that they brought out of Egypt, they can contribute goat's hair. And there were a lot of animals that they brought with them out of Egypt.

A lot of animals, yeah. So there was lots of goat hair available. So you got goat hair. I remember being in a goat hair tent in Israel one time I was there, and it's kind of weird. It's kind of stinky. It's just a little odd. But yeah, so you have the fine linen, the colored fine linen, and then on top of that you got the goat's hair.

On top of that you have some skins, which are actually sort of waterproof. But okay, let's get them up in the air. So where are we? We're in chapter 36 of Exodus, and we're starting in verse 20. Let's make us some wooden frames.

Okay. Then he made the upright frames for the tabernacle of acacia wood. Ten cubits was the length of a frame and a cubit and a half the breadth of each frame. Each frame had two tenons for fitting together. He did this for all the frames of the tabernacle. The frames of the tabernacle he made thus, 20 frames for the south side, and he made 40 bases of silver under the 20 frames, two bases under one frame for its two tenons, and two bases under the next frame for its two tenons. For the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side, he made 20 frames, and there 40 bases of silver, two bases under one frame, and two bases under the next frame. For the rear of the tabernacle, westward, he made six frames. He made two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear. They were separate beneath but joined at the top at the first ring. He made two of them this way for the two corners. There were eight frames with their bases of silver, 16 bases under every frame, two bases.

Very specific. That's a lot of detail. And nice, yeah. And these frames aren't actually tent pegged into the sand. Right. They're held up by these very heavy bases made out of precious metals and that's what kind of kept them standing vertically. But then they would attach the frames together. Well, then they were all attached together so they kind of supported one another and stayed upright. Right, right. And so, you know, it turns out too that if you do the math.

Please do. If you take 20 of these frames, you know, for the long side, the north or the south side, you take 20 frames, you multiply them by about two and a quarter feet, which is how wide they are. You come up with 45 feet and that's the length of the tabernacle.

It works. So these all actually go together really nicely. So we're building these frames. They're making them out of acacia wood. And if you know about acacia trees in the Middle East, they're kind of, they're not straight up. No, they're kind of twisty, aren't they? Yeah, they're twisty.

So I've always wondered, how do you make these frames out of such a twisty wood, especially if they gotta be 15 feet long? Well, where did that acacia wood come from? We don't know. I didn't track this down.

No, I didn't either. That's curious to me because they brought a lot of stuff with them out of Egypt. But I doubt if they were lugging acacia wood, at least not on this scale. I doubt it as well.

I really don't know. The only thing I was thinking was that, you know, they must use wood to support their own tents. That's true.

But they wouldn't sacrifice that because then they wouldn't have a way to hold up their tents. So I don't know. I'm just thinking, you know, from a woodworker's perspective, acacia would not be my first choice, but that is almost the only choice of wood in the desert. I wonder if it's lighter than other kinds of woods to make it more portable.

I don't know, I'm speculating. But look at all the variety of skills here. We would require carpenters to deal with the wood. We would require metal workers to make all those metal bases. We would require weavers and seamstresses to be producing the fabric that hangs on those frames.

There's a huge variety of skills, as we talked about last week, that come from the activity of the Spirit of God through the leadership of Beit Leil and Oholiab. Yeah, so we're doing it. We're making it. So we're making God's house where he chooses to meet with man here in the tabernacle. And we're making all of a sudden. Now, you know, there's a lot of these. If you add it up, you've got 20 frames in the north, 20 frames in the south.

You've got six plus two on the one end. It's a lot of wood structure to carry around. And plus, the bases have to be much heavier than the actual wooden frames themselves. So it's gonna take a small army to move this. That's why there were whole divisions of guys assigned to carry the parts. That's right. And we don't get that description in Exodus that comes in Numbers and Leviticus.

And I looked it up. In Numbers 1, at least, God specifically says to Moses, the Levites, they're in charge of moving this thing, of taking it down, setting it up, carting it off, setting it up against the Levites. And then he gets into more detail in chapter three of Numbers. You can take a look at that if you want, because he takes all these pieces that we're building right now, and he assigns these pieces to different parts of the Levites. Different families, yeah.

Say, you guys, you're doing this, you're doing this, you're doing this. And then they all actually guard the tabernacle area by tenting around it. But when it comes to dismantling and getting up and moving, the different families in the Levites, they have different responsibilities.

They all know what they need to do. And when you look in Numbers, Numbers is called Numbers. For a reason. Because they actually number the people. I mean, the whole book starts off numbering the people who are of fighting age by tribe. Then they number all kinds of other stuff too. And they number a lot of stuff. But they eventually do number the Levites, who are excluded from being soldiers, because this was their job.

This was their full-time job. But the number of Levites from, I think, from infants up who are males, there's like over 20,000. So when I say you need a small army to move this, you probably don't need all 20,000, because there's kids involved in that.

But you need an awful lot to do this. So when they're getting ready to move in the desert and go from one place to another, they not only have the responsibility of moving their own tents and their own families, they have to move all this stuff as well. I mean, this is really an extraordinary job to get this big thing moved around. And so in my mind, when you have all these acacia wood frames, plus the super heavy bases that hold them up, you're talking about a lot of stuff. And those pieces of cloth, they're gigantic. They're heavy. They're gigantic. Which is why when you consider the scope of the journey that they were on, they didn't move every day.

No, no. Sometimes they were as long as a year in a single place. It'd be a tremendous problem to me. Yeah, it makes sense then that these very heavy things would not have to be picked up and moved every day. But they did have very specific assignments for people who moved them.

So did the heavy lifting. They kind of spread the load out, which again is a nice picture of what happens in the body of Christ these days. We joke about the fact that in many churches, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. The 80-20 rule.

Right, and that should never be the case. In this case, it's specifically spelled out by the families. This family will do this. This family will do this. And so it's spread out. So when you move, 20% are not moving everything.

Everybody's doing it. Well, so we stopped in verse 30, right? Right. Yeah, so there's still a few more things to make.

I'll read this from 31. So he made 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 tabernacle at the rear westward. And he made the middle bar to run from end to end halfway up the frames. And he overlaid the frames with gold and made the rings of gold for holders, for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold. So this is extra supporting structure that goes horizontally with the frames. And it's used to keep them upright and provide rigidity to the structure. So that's what we have right here.

Five bars up and down with one going through the middle. Okay, and it's interesting that these ones now are overlaid with gold. Yes. So these are probably inner ones.

They would be seen on the inside, yeah. Yeah. So yeah, so this, that was, that kind of completes the framing of the tabernacle. It'll hold it up.

And yeah, so that's good. So yeah, so when we move, we have gigantic amounts of fabric to move as a whole. We have gigantic amounts of framing lumber to move, some of it overlaid with gold.

So we have a small army moving it. Okay, so we left out some textiles, we'll do that next. He made the veil, this is verse 35. He made the veil of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twisted linen with cherubim skillfully worked into it, he made it. Now always get that detail, the cherubim are worked into it.

Cherubim, skillfully worked into it. Right, and verse 36, and for it, he made four pillars of acacia and overlaid them with gold. Their hooks were of gold and he cast for them four bases of silver. He also made a screen for the entrance of the tent of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen embroidered with needlework. And it's five pillars with their hooks.

He overlaid their capitals and their fillets were of gold, but their five bases were of bronze. So we have two pieces of fabric here. We have the veil, which is always referred to as the veil that separates the holy of holies. That's the one inside the tabernacle. The innermost veil. And then the screen for the entrance of the tent, which is different, it's lighter weight, it doesn't have quite the same ornamentation, but it is also beautiful.

It's beautiful, it's linen, has all the colors to it. So from the outside of the tabernacle, this is always what has struck me, I think we mentioned this last time, from the, if you looked at the outside of the tabernacle, on the northwest and south sides, you'd see this junky kind of skins, waterproof skins. Not junky, it just looks like a tent. It looks like a tent. But if you came around to the east side, you would see this entry that has this colorful door. So it's clearly an invitation, and this is the entry.

This is how you go in at this point right here. And it's actually a foretaste of what the inside looks like. And it's the only part of the inside of the tabernacle that's reflected at the outside that people would ever see.

It's a little sample. That's your only taste you can see, because then again, it's only the high priest, or the priests who go inside past that point. Now this is the screen on the holy place itself, not the screen on the outer enclosure. Not the outer court. We haven't gotten to that yet.

Right, right, right, right, not on the outer court. So yeah, this would be the only glimpse you would ever get of it. I think that's really nice that God would allow that.

He would say, you wonder what's in here, you're curious what's in here, only the Levites can come in here. Here's a sampling right here. You can look through the fence opening, and you can see this. You know, we still do this today. We decorate our front doors, right? And don't you sometimes paint your front door a different color than your house? You want it to be welcoming, you want it to say something about who lives here, what you might expect when you come through this door.

Yeah, yeah, that's exactly right. I remember my dad for years was pushing for a bright red front door. He was really in love with the red front door.

And my mom would fight him and say, why do you want a red front door? Well, because it catches your eye when you go down the street. Well, this would clearly catch your eye. This would catch your eye, yeah. Yeah, this is really something.

It's unlike anything else. You wouldn't have seen these colors or this ornamentation anywhere else in the camp. Yeah, exactly. And so in this section, he has to also describe the support structures, that's the pillars. And so there's four vertical pillars inside where the veil is, and then there's, what is it, five?

On the outside, the outside entryway. So they didn't actually have doors on hinges. You basically had curtains that you parted.

And so, but they were supported by these pillars. So yeah, so it looks like we have the whole outside of the tabernacle done at this point, at least if you get this done, right? Right, the tabernacle itself, yeah. Right, so we just got the frames done. We got the big cloth for the coverings. We got the veil that's inside.

We got the entry screen on the east side. So gosh, we could make stuff for the inside. Well, that's coming next. That is coming next. That's coming in chapter 37.

Yeah, yeah. But since we're here, maybe we need to reflect a little bit on what we're seeing right here on the temple. So like for in the tabernacle. The tabernacle, I'm sorry, the tabernacle, which is the portable temple. So that's the only distinction.

Given where we live, it's very important to make that distinction. It totally is, but a lot of people don't really understand that. What went on in the tabernacle is the same as what went in on the temple.

The temple was just a permanent limestone structure. This is a tent that can move. But yeah, it's basically the same thing.

So what do you make, let me just reflect a little bit on this since we've got some time left. What do you make of the fact that Jesus said in Matthew 12, something greater than the temple is here? I mean, since we're experts now on what the temple, aka the tabernacle, is, why would Jesus say that he's greater than the tabernacle and in a sense, greater than whatever the purpose of the tabernacle was? What is he really trying to say?

That seems kind of vague. Well, throughout their whole history, the Jews had regarded the tabernacle and then the physical building of the temple as the holiest place on earth. Right, that's where God is to be encountered right there through the system that God himself put in place, the sacrificial system. And by the time of Jesus, it was no longer Solomon's temple, it was the second temple that had been rebuilt and modified and expanded by Herod the Great. So everybody who went there, we have it recorded several times in the gospels that they were admiring, look how great these stones are.

What an amazing place this is. Yeah, I have one of those patches, Matthew 24. Jesus left the temple, was going away. One of his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple, but he answered them, you see all these, do you not, truly I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.

So they were very much identified with the presence of that temple. And what does it mean when God deliberately allows it to be taken down? I mean, God's making a statement, he made a statement in creating the tabernacle and temple, he made a statement in taking it down. And we've said this many times, that as they came out of Egypt and they were gonna traverse across the desert and toward the promised land, God said many times, I'm going to dwell in your midst.

I wanna be among you. So since you guys are living in tents, make me a tent. And here's my specification, that's a tabernacle. So the tabernacle always represented God's desire to live in the midst of his people. So when Jesus says, I'm greater than the thing that has been identified with that, he's really making a statement about God's desire to live in the midst of his people in a much deeper, greater way than the tabernacle or temple ever could be. Okay, well, John 1 says, the word became flesh and tabernacled among us, right?

The movable tent of his human body, the presence of God among us. But let's circle back to the building itself for a minute, because when the stone temple was built in the nation, in the land that God gave to his people, the permanent structure that Solomon built, that stood until God said, because of your idolatry, I'm going to exile you. And first the Assyrians came into the Northern Kingdom and later the Babylonians and destroyed that temple. God allowed it to be torn down and removed. And it was not rebuilt until after the exile was over and they returned to their country. So when Jesus says something greater than the temple is here and not one of these stones is gonna be left one upon another, he's saying, you know, you were sent out of here and the temple was taken away before for your unfaithfulness to God. That's gonna happen again. We know from John 1, John says so explicitly and beautifully, he came to his own, but his own did not receive him.

Right, right. And so Jesus is alluding to that, I think, the rejection of his own people of the movable tabernacle of God among them, God in the flesh, a person of Jesus. Yeah, and so what we're doing right now is we're pulling back from this narrative and we're kind of kicking back and thinking, what does this all mean?

How does this connect in a bigger sense? And it always has to come back to why did God even want a tabernacle built? And we just dived in the details of making it. But we remember, because we've been reading next to all this together, you know, the purpose of the tabernacle is to show the people that he wants to be in their midst and give them a place and sense where they can come to where he is. Later on when Solomon builds the permanent temple, you know, the limestone version of it, and his dedicating prayer when he talks about it, even in his dedicating prayer says, you know, we can't make a building big enough to hold God.

That's not what we're doing. But what we're doing is we're creating a place, by your instruction, God, where we can come to and plead with you and talk with you and be with you in our midst. Okay, well, and the one thing that happened in that temple continually morning, noon, and night was the offering of sacrifice for sin, right? So that is the essential element of the presence of God in them, in their midst requires the acknowledgement of the deal with sin. Because our own sin kind of frustrates that process of coming near to God. So yeah, so as you come near to God, you have to go through this process of dealing with your sin. But God still wants to be in your midst.

He still wants to be in the middle, and he wants you to come to him for help, just like Solomon said. We'll come here, and we'll say, God, help us, and we'll do that here. But again, the first steps you take into the courtyard of the tabernacle itself is all about saying, yeah, but there's a sin problem.

You can't come any farther. We need to deal with your sin. So dealing with the sin with God in the presence of Israel, dealing with sin was actually the dominant action you would see going on in the temple. That's what the temple was all about. And it didn't chase God away, but God said, I've provided a way for that sin to be taken care of, so I can live in your midst. But when God allows the temple to be taken down, he's saying, I can't stay in your midst anymore.

And why? Because you've pushed me away. And so that's what you see in the nation of Israel. When the nation of Israel pushes away God, he says, well, I'm not staying here anymore then. Okay, and that happened, actually, in 70 AD, right? 40 or so years after the death of Jesus, when we know that the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world had been sacrificed, as John the Baptist pointed him out, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, that physical temple in Jerusalem had fulfilled its purpose.

It was done. The sacrifice for sin had been made and was fulfilled in Jesus. So there was no more need for that temple. Exactly, which is why we circle back to this thing where Jesus says something greater than the temple is here. Not only in the desire of God to live in your midst, but to deal with the problem of sin. So you could almost say, and this is where we kick back and think and scratch our chin, you could almost say that in a real sense, Jesus was operating as the temple in the midst of the nation of Israel.

And so let me read this passage to you while you're trying to put that together. In John 2, Jesus answers them and says, destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. And the Jews then said, hey, it's taken 46 years to build this temple and will you raise it up in three days? And then John tells us, but he was speaking about the temple of his body when therefore he was raised from the dead. The disciples remembered that he'd said this and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. So yes, everything we're learning about the tabernacle and eventually the permanent tabernacle of the temple is all reflected in who Jesus is and why he came.

The issue of sin and also the issue of the newness of God. Isn't that cool? It's amazing.

This is why you would kick back and scratch our chins because this is neat. There's more that's going on here that connects to the New Testament who Jesus is. So here we have the tabernacle specifically designed and mated to the people of Israel for a specific purpose. And then Jesus comes on the scene and says, something greater than that is here in me.

Whoa. So this picture of the temple, the dwelling place of God in our midst is being refined across all of scripture. Initially it's introduced as this tent that's moving around in the wilderness with them and then becomes a permanent structure in the middle of their land that God gave them. And then when Jesus comes and God touches down in the form of a human being who is the son of God, who gives his life as the sacrifice for our sin and is resurrected, then we, through faith in him, become the built-up temple of God, a dwelling place for God and the Holy Spirit. Do you remember that in John?

I've got a passage. Well, in John 4, when Jesus is talking with the woman at the well, and she's asking that question, well, do we worship here or are you guys saying we have to go to Jerusalem? And Jesus says, no, no, no, it's not about the location at all.

Not anymore. The Father is seeking those who will worship him in spirit and in truth. It's not about going to a building. So in the coming of Jesus, something clicked differently in terms of the role of the temple. And she's making a good point because her people couldn't go down to Jerusalem. They'd been separated for years.

Oh, hundreds of years. Yeah, so she couldn't do that. So she's saying, if we're gonna worship, we gotta come to your place? And Jesus says, no.

Things have changed now. And again, if he is the replacement of the temple, the nearness of God and the solution to sin, which is both aspects of what the tabernacle was, that's a good deal. But you go one step further in the body of Christ right now. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3, do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit dwells in you? What?

Both corporately and individually. Yes, yes. And so we talk about the body of Christ, we are the body of Christ and he dwells in us. But we come back again to this tabernacle we're looking at right here. This is a place where God chose to occupy, to meet with his people. And now, after Jesus and after what he's done on our behalf, that meeting place is not a tent. That meeting place is not a limestone building in Jerusalem. That meeting place is inside you. You're that temple. Isn't that cool?

It's so beautiful. And let's just circle back to this passage from 1 Peter 2 that I read last week. Oh, very good one, yeah. Where Paul says, and coming to him as to a living stone, rejected by men but choice and precious in the sight of God, you also as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. So there's the picture of we as believers in Christ being built up into this dwelling place of God. And there is still sacrifice being offered. And it was the sacrifice of the fruit of lips that praise his name, the sacrifice of service poured out, the walking in love in his example. Well, we will never be the sacrifice for sin for another. So we have to understand this in terms of what the rest of the scripture unpacks as the sacrifices associated with us.

We're built up into a dwelling place of God in the spirit. Right. Yeah, Paul says the same thing in Ephesians 2. Right.

He said, great, go check that out, 2.19. Well, we are totally out of time. We are. And it's a delight when you read these narratives, like I say, to push back a little bit and close your eyes and scratch your chin and say, why did God do it this way? And is it really true that all this detail is pointing to the reality of the coming of the Messiah Jesus? And the point is, yes. And it's just such an extraordinary privilege to help you put that picture together. Yeah, yeah. Well, so come back next time. We're gonna continue making stuff, but now stuff that goes inside. So I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy. And we'll see you next week 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, morethanink.org. Okay, when I put my finger on the button, and right like, right now.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-17 15:07:19 / 2022-12-17 15:21:17 / 14

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