FIRSTBORN SONSHIP OF CHRISTt
THE NEW BIRTH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Article 53 (continued)
THE WALLS OF THE TABERNACLE
Reflecting back on the size of the boards and silver sockets of the walls of the tabernacle is of considerable interest. The boards were almost too wide and thick to be called boards. They were
one cubit (18 inches) thick, one cubit and a half (27 inches) wide, and 10 cubits (15 feet) high, Ex 26:15-16. There were two silver sockets under each board, indicating that the socket dimensions were approximately 13½" by 18" by perhaps one foot or more in height.
These figures depend on a cubit being 18 inches. Also, the boards were overlaid with gold, but how much gold is not stated. Whether these measurements were before or after the boards were overlaid with gold is likewise not clear.
The boards were so thick and wide that we would otherwise hardly call them boards. In size they were more like "pillars" than boards, and were indeed larger than the pillars upon which the two curtains of the tabernacle were hung: the entrance curtain and the veil which divided the tabernacle into two holy places. This appears to harmonize well with being made pillars in the living temple of God, where every pillar has, in this earthly life, qualified for that incomparably superior state of divine life. The excellence of divine life is immeasurably beyond the grandest peak of human life, 1Co 2:9; Eph 3:20.
12 "He who is constantly overcoming, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name," Rev 3:12.
How inexpressibly grand and desirable is even the lowest state of divine life! And we are very positively assured that we can obtain that life more abundantly (Jn 10:10); of course, by grace through faith, 1Co 15:10; Ph 2:12-13.
Another grand and very desirable factor about divine life is that those who qualify will forever continue to grow more abundantly in all the divine fullness of God. Again, God is infinite, and
therefore that growth process will never end.
9 "But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of manthe things which God has prepared for those who love Him,'" 1Co 2:9.
Those who qualify to be pillars in the temple of God will go no more out, Rev 3:12. Their period of training and qualifying will be finished, and there will no longer be any possibility of sin with its consequences. The glorified saints will forever be joint heirs with Christ and will rule all creation together with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 1Co 3:21-23; Rom 4:13; 8:17,32; Heb 2:5-13.
Those who qualify will be born again into the divine state of being, and will continue to grow in all the attributes and works of God. Their growth process will never stop. As God continues His
myriads of ages of creative acts yet to come, all the firstborn sons will continue to grow eternally in admiration, love, knowledge, worship, power, authority, etc.
THE COVERINGS OF THE TABERNACLE
Article 54, Part One
There were four coverings of the tabernacle which may be considered as "outer garments" or "clothing." These coverings were stretched over the tabernacle and over the walls of huge boards of acacia wood covered with gold, which rested on very heavy silver sockets as a foundation. These coverings, with all the tabernacle structure and furnishings, were prophetic of Christ and all the firstborn sons, who are being redeemed into a divine and living dwelling place of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
This "tent" or "tabernacle" was many years later replaced by a gloriously decorated stone temple,
2Ki 8. Whether tabernacle or temple, both bore witness of a future wholly divine and living temple of God. And those who overcome, by grace through faith, during this life of pilgrimage training and testing, will "go out no more," Rev 3:12. This means they have "overcome," and are
eternal pillars in God's divine temple. And, as joint heirs, kings, and priests together with Christ, they will traverse and govern all the creation of God, Rom 4:13; 8:17,32, 1Co 3:21-23; Heb 2:5-18. Of course, those who have been more faithful will share more abundantly of all the divine attributes of God, Mt 25:14-30; Lk 19:11-25; Jn 10:10; 2Co 9:10.
THE TOP COVERING OF BADGER (???) SKINS
14 "You shall also make a covering of ram skins dyed red for the tent, and a covering of badger skins above that," Ex 26:14; 36:19.
There is justifiable concern as to whether this was badger skins, goatskins, seal skin, or the skins of some other animal. The word "tachash" is translated variously. The KJV, NKJ, and YLT say "badger skins." The RSV says "goatskins." The NLT says "fine goatskin leather," The ASV
says "porpoise skins." The NAS says "sealskins." The NIV says "hides of sea cows," et al.
The word can be correctly translated in all these ways, but is obviously not correctly translated as badger skins when applied to the fourth tabernacle covering and the covering of the tabernacle furnishings when Israel was on the move, as stated below.
The tabernacle served as God's holy dwelling place in the midst of His covenant people, whom He was and is redeeming from sin and death into the divine life of His own divine state of being. This includes all the divine attributes of God except infinity, and the fact that God had nobeginning Jn 17:21-23; Eph 3:19; Col 2:9-10. Everything about the tabernacle was and is
symbolic of this marvelous redemption process.
These four coverings were the holy garments of God's holy dwelling place. Our garments signify the kind of person we are. They speak of our conduct which flows from our minds, hopefully by
the Holy Spirit using the Scriptures, Phi 2:12-13. Our mind and emotional system govern our speech and conduct, which the Scriptures address as our clothing, Rev 3:4-5,17-18 7:13-14; 16:15; 19:7-8; 22:14.
God clothed Adam and Eve with "skins," (Gen 3:21), and we can be sure these were skins of "clean" sacrificial animals, which testified of "redemption" from their sinful condition and its eternal punishment consequences. Again, In the Bible, clothing represents one's character and lifestyle, Mt 22:12-14; Rev 4:5,18; 7:14; 16:15; 19:8.
It appears quite inappropriate to say that one of the coverings of God's holy sanctuary was made of the skins of an unclean animal. Again, for emphasis, the ark of the covenant, the altar of incense, the golden candlestick, the table of shewbread, and all the equipment pertaining to each, were all covered with this same skin, when Israel was commanded to move from one location to another, Num 4. Surely the ark of the covenant and the holy furniture in the tabernacle were not covered with the skins of an unclean animal!
Everything about the tabernacle testified of "holiness" from the court fence to the ark of the covenant. The "badger," however, was an "unclean" animal. It did not split the hoof nor chew the cud, as required of clean animals, Lev 11.
Whatever we think, say, do, eat, touch, etc., the symbolism is the same: we must strive to be holy and avoid all unholy relationships and environments. Every activity must be directed toward
redemption of ourselves and of others; of course, by grace of God through faith.
The significance of this skin covering is witnessed by it being the final of four unique coverings over the tabernacle. Also, it was the required outer covering over all the sacred items inside the tabernacle, except the ark of the covenant, which required this skin as the second covering, and a blue covering as the outer or last covering. The blue covering was otherwise
beneath this specific skin covering, Num 4.
When God moved Israel in the wilderness from one location to another, He had instructed that all the holy furniture and their related items must be covered in specific coverings before the
tabernacle was dismantled. The ark of the covenant was first covered with the curtain that divided the holy place from the most holy place, then with this skin, but with a blue cloth as the top covering.
All the other tabernacle furniture and attendant items were covered with a blue linen covering first, and then covered with probably goat skins (not badger skins). Putting the blue cloth as the last or top covering emphasized its significance as representing the throne of God in heaven. The blue color speaks of heavenly character. Also, the ark of the covenant, and all the
tabernacle and its ministry, bore witness that God's purpose from the beginning has been and still is to conform His faithful covenant people into His own image and likeness:
26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;..." Gen 1:26.
15 "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness," Ps 17:15.
21 "That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
22 "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
23 "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me," Jn 17:21-23.
The whole tabernacle structure, with its ministry, priesthood, sacrifices, and covenant people, bore witness of a divine firstborn sonship. Here is the firstborn birthright and the birthright
blessing, Gen 27:27-37; Rom 8:29; Col 1:18-19. This "great nation" (Gen 12:1-3) of firstborn divine sons is predestined to rule eternally over many nations of servant sons Gal 4:21 thru 5:5; Ps 2:7-12; Rev 2:26-27.
The servant sons will forever exist in mere flesh bodies, under the basic laws of the physical universe, which the Law Covenant demonstrated, Gal 4; Col 2 & 3. On the new earth, they will have sinless bodies, but will never experience the divine birth into the firstborn sonship.
During the Millennium the curse which God placed on the earth (Gen 3:17-19) will be removed, Rom 8:19-22. The earth will then be a new earth, but at the end of the Millennium God will obviously create a much larger new earth, Rev 21.
SIN, DEATH, REDEMPTION
17 "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die," Gen 2:17.
6 "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
7 "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings," Gen 3:6-7.
21 "Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them," Gen 3:21.
Here we have "death" because of the sin of Adam and Eve, and they immediately became dead to God (separated from the fellowship and goodness of God). And this death is eternal, apart from the death of the Seed of the woman, Gen 3:15. But we also have the hope of salvation back into the
promise and hope of divine life by the death and sacrifice of clean animals to provide clothing for Adam and Eve.
The outer covering of the tabernacle required the "death" of "clean" animals in order to obtain the skins for this fourth covering for the tabernacle. Would we insist that these skins came from "unclean" animals? The tabernacle symbolized the holy dwelling place of God among His holy
people. We certainly expect the tabernacle to be covered with the skins of clean animals to symbolize the sinless requirements of our Kinsman Redeemer, Ex 12:1-14; Lev 11:1-47; 19:2; 20:22-26.