|The Tabernacle of the Israelites that they Built in the Desert|
Recently my wife and I visited a traveling exhibit known as the Messiah’s Mansion. The exhibit is a full-size reconstruction of the original Tabernacle that the Jews constructed. The Model is built to the description of the plans given by God to Moses after he led the Israelites out of Egypt. The Messiah’s Mansion exhibit is a project of the Oklahoma Academy in Harrah, Oklahoma and, like the Jews wandering in the desert, it travels across the United States.
By the way, the development and construction of the Tabernacle is carefully documented in the Bible. It begins in Exodus 35 and continues through to the end of the Book. Because the Jews lived a nomadic lifestyle, their Tabernacle consisted of a series of tents that could be broken down, transported, and then set up again at the next location. Not unlike the taking down and setting up process the students do at each stop.
|The Tabernacle Enclosed by TentCloth|
A docent leads each tour group through a series of five stops, or stations. At each stop Nathan, our student guide, explained the area we were seeing and its role in the ancient sanctuary. Particular items that played a pivotal part in the ancient Israelite services are identified and discussed.FIRST STOP
This first stop prepares the visitor by presenting an overview of the general layout and purpose of the ancient Tabernacle.
|The Outer Courtyard - The Place of Scarifice|
Next, the tour moves to the outer courtyard, the place of sacrifice. Here they have a replica of the Altar of Sacrifice and the Laver.
In the interest of time, they dealt with only one sacrifice, the Sin Offering, and one offering, a lamb. In reality a number of offerings and sacrifices are enumerated in Leviticus. Depending upon the occasion and their financial status, a person could bring a bull or calf, a lamb, a goat, pigeons (doves), honey, or meal. There were Sin Offerings, Peace Offerings, Trespass Offerings, Burnt Offerings, Meal Offerings, and Thank Offerings with particular specifications and requirements for each.
|Inside the Holy Place Open only to Priests|
The third stop takes the visitor into the Holy Place, the inner court that could only be entered by the Levite priests. It contained three items. The Table of Showbread, called Shewbread in the King James Version. The Showbread (haPānīm, literally Bread of the Presence), refers to the cakes or loaves of bread which were always present along with wine on a dedicated table, within the Temple in Jerusalem. The bread was changed each Shabbat. And, prefiguring the Eucharist, priests entered the Holy Place and consumed the bread and wine before replacing it with fresh loaves. On the Pilgrim feasts the bread was brought before the people and they were told to “look upon their God.” The Holy Place an Altar of Incense and the Golden Candlesticks.
|The Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies|
The final stopping point is the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctum of the sanctuary where the Ark of the Covenant was kept along with Aaron's staff and the Ten Commandments. No one but the High Priest could enter this area, and he could enter only on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
|Close-up of the Relics in the Ark|
STATION FIVEThe tour concludes with a Question & Answer session and closing statements.
To me, the most interesting part was to see how closely both the First (Solomon’s) and the Second (Herod’s) Temple adhered to the structural layout of this first Tabernacle built in the desert by Moses.
I feel it necessary to mention that the Messiah’s Mansion is an outreach of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The last thing I want to do is get into a doctrinal discussion of who believes what and whether they’re right or wrong. I did not go to criticize or scrutinize anyone’s beliefs. I went to see a display of the ancient Tabernacle used by the early Israelites and was pleased with what I saw.
For anyone interested in obtaining more information about this display of the Messiah’s Mansion and a current tour schedule can visit their homepage at http://www.messiahsmansion.com/.
Until next time, we wish you Peace and Blessings.