For a large part of the material in this study, I would like to acknowledge the following source:
The Miracle of the Scarlet Thread by Richard Booker, 1981 – Destiny Image Publishers
Hebrews 8:6-7 NKJV But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. (7) For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
We move forward in time from Abraham to Moses and the Children of Israel in their captivity in Egypt. God spoke to Abraham at the time God was making covenant with Jesus and described what was to come:
Genesis 15:12-16 NKJV Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. (13) Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. (14) And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. (15) Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. (16) But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
We know that 400 years later, God still has not forgotten the covenant:
Exodus 2:23-25 NKJV Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. (24) So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. (25) And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.
Notice God did not desire to deliver the children of Israel because THEY deserved it. He wanted to do it because the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
God did not forget that covenant and He has not forgotten the covenant that you are part of through the Lord Jesus Christ!
There is just one challenge that is present with these people: They do not realize Who they are in covenant with. They don’t realize how sinful they are and how holy He is.
So, God brings them to the base of Mount Sinai to introduce Himself to them.
Exodus 19:17-20 NKJV And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. (18) Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. (19) And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. (20) Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
God then gives the Ten Commandments to Moses to be His “calling card”.
He knows; however, the people are not able to keep the commandments because of their sin nature.
The commandments were to be a mirror to the people of how sinful they were and how holy He is. Then when the people see Him for Who He really is, they will fall down and worship Him for His great grace in entering into a covenant with them.
In addition to giving Moses the Ten Commandments, He gave him some additional directions.
There were instructions for:
- Building a Tabernacle
- Establishing and elaborate system of sacrifices
- Ordaining a priesthood
Moses took the blood of the sacrificed animals and splashed it against the altar. Then after publicly reading the Ten Commandments and other laws before the nation, he threw blood towards the people themselves. He then sprinkled blood on the Book of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments and all the laws.
Exodus 24:8 NLT Then Moses took the blood from the basins and splattered it over the people, declaring, “Look, this blood confirms the covenant the LORD has made with you in giving you these instructions.”
God never intended for the Hebrews to approach Him by trying to keep the Ten Commandments.
Blood had to be shed for the forgiveness of sin. What God intended was for the people to know the commandments and the commandments to send His people to the Tabernacle, offer a sacrifice and get to Him that way.
The Hebrew was not to approach God by the Ten Commandments but through the sacrifices offered by the High Priest.
God gave the tabernacle and details of its construction to portray in a temporary way what He would do in a permanent way through Jesus Christ.
What God established in the Old Covenant was a temporary, preliminary system pointing the Hebrew in the direction of the New Covenant so that they would recognize the “Seed of Abraham” when He came on the scene.
The Earthly Tabernacle
This would be the place where the Hebrews would bring their sacrificed for sin and their sacrifices of praise. This could ONLY take place at the Tabernacle.
There was only ONE WAY they could approach God.
The tribes were split into groups of four and each group has a flag. The tribe of Judah was a lion of gold in a field of scarlet. Ephraim was a black ox on a field of gold. Reuben was a man on a field of gold. Dan was a golden eagle on a field of blue.
Ezekiel 1:10 NIV Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.
Revelation 4:7 NIV The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.
Ezekiel 1:10 and Revelation 4:7 tell us that the lion represents the king who reigns supreme. The ox represents the lowly servant. The man represents the highest earthly being. The eagle represents the highest heavenly being.
In the four Gospels Jesus is represented this same way. In Matthew Jesus is represented as the King of the Jews. In Mark Jesus is represented as the suffering lowly servant. In Luke Jesus is represented as the Son of Man (the highest earthly being). In John Jesus is represented as the Son of God (the greatest heavenly being).
150 feet long and 75 feet wide. Half as long as a football field. Anyone had access to the courtyard.
Covered in skins, the inside was colored red.
This was always facing east, and you had to have an acceptable sacrifice to be able to enter in.
Ezekiel 43:4 NKJV And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east.
John 14:6 NKJV Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
The Brazen or Brass Altar:
This is the place where the priest would kill and offer your sacrifice. It was the place of the burnt offering.
Remember, you don’t approach God by trying to keep the Ten Commandments but by the blood sacrifice that is acceptable to Him.
You approach God by faith, believing in your heart that through the blood covenant, your sins are symbolically being transmitted to the animal. The slain animal becomes your substitute. Of course, you know that the blood of the animal cannot take away your sin but the blood of the animal will COVER your sins until God Himself comes to take them away.
This represents the Cross. The blood was poured out on the altar just as the blood of Jesus was poured out on the Cross.
Ephesians 5:2 NKJV And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
A large wash basin filled with water made of polished brass the same way that women would polish brass to use as a mirror. The priests had to wash themselves as they would get dirty doing their priestly duty.
It showed him how dirty he was but also provided a way for cleansing.
This is symbolic of the Word of God.
Ephesians 5:25-26 NKJV Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, (26) that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
The Holy Place:
The Golden Candlestick:
The middle branch contained the oil and fed the oil to the other six branches. This was trimmed every morning and evening to ensure that light was continually present. The Holy place was covered and dark.
The Holy Spirit is the One that brings light and illumination first for the Gospel and then in our spiritual growth.
John 16:8-9 NKJV And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
John 16:13-14 NKJV However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (14) He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
Just as the priest daily had to trim the wicks and make sure there was oil present, the believer must stay filled with the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 NLT Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,
Table of Shewbread:
12 loaves of bread (for each tribe) and wine sat on the table and were replaced every six days. On the Sabbath the priest east the bread and pours out the wine. He feeds on the life of God. Symbolic of the covenant meal.
John 6:51-58 NLT I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is My flesh.” (52) Then the people began arguing with each other about what He meant. “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” they asked. (53) So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. (54) But anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. (55) For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. (56) Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. (57) I live because of the living Father who sent Me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on Me will live because of Me. (58) I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”
Altar of Incense:
Every evening the priest puts hot coals on the altar and then sprinkles incense over the coals. The entire room stayed full of the fragrant aroma from the incense and once a year the cloud of incense would follow the High Priest in the Holy of Holies.
Incense is always symbolic of prayer in the Scriptures.
Revelation 5:8 NKJV Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Revelation 8:3-4 NKJV Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. (4) And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.
Holy of Holies:
This small area was blocked off by the veil and contained the throne of God and was your destination. Only the High Priest could enter in once a year to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant to cover the sins of the people.
Hebrews 10:19-21 NKJV Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, (20) by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, (21) and having a High Priest over the house of God,
The Ark of the Covenant:
Contained three things:
- Aarons rod that budded: symbolic of the people’s reject of God’s leadership through Aaron
- Pot of Manna: symbolic of the reject of God’s daily provision
- Broken Ten Commandments: symbolic of how the people break God’s commandments and fall short of His holiness.
God looked down and saw this, but He had to see it through the blood sprinkled by the High Priest once a year.
The blood covered Mercy Seat (not the Ten Commandments) changes God’s throne from a seat of judgment to a seat of mercy.
Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (15) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (16) Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 9:11-15 NKJV But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. (12) Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (13) For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, (14) how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (15) And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
God’s purposes have never changed. The Ten Commandments, religion, or man’s efforts cannot provide cleansing and forgiveness. Only shed blood can do that. It was merely designed to send you running to the real Tabernacle and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.