Who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” (Hebrews 8:5)
Following The Pattern
Shortly after leaving Egypt, the Hebrew refugees arrived at a place where the Lord God would meet with them and create His promised nation to Abraham. The seed promise given to Abram in Haran had been fulfilled through Isaac, the son of promise. Now many generations later, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been freed from the bondage of the Egyptian masters and stood at the foot of the mountain called Sinai. It was here the Lord communed with Moses and delivered the law. The Hebrews were now to be called the nation of Israel. It would be four decades later before the final promise to Abraham is fulfilled as Joshua leads the new generation of Israel across the Jordan River into the promised land. While at Sinai, Israel was instructed in every aspect of the law and the formation of the canon that would make up their legal, cultural and religious laws. The focal point of Israel would be the creation of an ark of acacia wood and the tabernacle that would house the place where the Lord would meet with the people in the Holy of Holies. Moses was given specific instructions regarding the formation of the articles of the tabernacle and the fashioning of the tent of meeting. This would be the center of worship for nearly five hundred years as the nation of Israel wandered in the wilderness and then settled in the land of Canaan. When Solomon became king of Israel, the temple in Jerusalem would become the place of worship for God’s people.
Moses was given instructions on how to construct the tabernacle. He was told what articles to include in the tabernacle like the ark of the covenant, lampstand, table of showbread, altar of incense, and the brazen altar. The tabernacle itself would be called the tent of meeting constructed under the leadership of two men, Bezaleel and Aholiab. It would be 15 feet wide and 45 feet long with the only entrance on the east side. Darrell Hymel describes in his book, ‘A topical study of the Law of Moses’ the “tent consisted of a wooden framework made of 46 identical planks 15 feet long and 2 feet wide. Six of the planks were on the west side with two additional planks which were 9 inches wide. Both the north and south had 20 planks each. All were made with Acacia wood and were overlaid with gold. Over this framework were four separate coverings that made up the roof. The first covering was made of fine-twined linen of blue, scarlet and purple with intricately portrayed cherubim. The second was of pure white goat’s hair. The third was of rams’ skin died red. The tops most covering was either badger skin (NKJV) or porpoise skin (NASV) or sea cows (NIV).” There is one thing certain in the instructions of building the tabernacle: God had a pattern and expected Moses to follow that pattern.
The Hebrew writer uses the story of Moses building the tabernacle as a lesson point to show the necessity of following a divine pattern. Jesus is the perfect High Priest establishing a new covenant built on better promises with greater hope than found in the failings of the Law of Moses. Central to the argument is the necessity of following the pattern of the Lord. Moses was given detailed instructions on how to build the tabernacle and the Lord demanded the people follow that pattern. Any deviation would have brought the displeasure of the Lord. There would have been severe consequences as demonstrated when Nadab and Abihu attempted to offer strange fire which He had not commanded them. The Law of Moses has been abolished. Salvation comes through Jesus Christ and His blood. Like the building of the tabernacle, the church of Christ must be formed according to the New Testament pattern. There can be no deviation from the divine pattern without incurring the displeasure of the Lord. The apostle Paul said there is only one body or one church yet the world is filled with thousands of modern-day tabernacles that are not built according to the divine pattern. If Moses were living today he would be astonished at how many different types of tabernacles there are given to men to find their own brand of worship. How many tabernacles were there? According to the law of God, there was only one. How many churches are there? According to the law of God, there is only one. If the church is not patterned after the New Testament model then the church is made by men and not the Lord. Men are divinely instructed when they are about to make the church to see that they make all things according to the pattern shown them in the book: the Bible. The church of Christ has one pattern and one pattern alone. Anything else is not according to the pattern and displeasing to God. Which church do you belong?