The ancient Tabernacle and its items foreshadow Yeshua, His work, and our faith in Him. As believers in Yeshua, learning about the Tabernacle and understanding the symbolism in its items will give us a deeper understanding into our faith.
At Park Timna, there is a life-size model of the Tabernacle; it is the only one of its kind in all of Israel! This replica is built according to the specific biblical dimensions given in Exodus 25-30. Let’s take a closer look at the symbolism in the Tabernacle and its items.
This altar was one of the two items located in the outside courtyard of the Tabernacle. It was five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high (a cubit is 1.5 ft. or 0.5 m.), and made of acacia wood overlaid with bronze. There was a horn on each corner and attached poles to transport it. This is the altar on which Aaron and his sons made daily sacrifices to the Lord for the people.
This altar and the sacrifices that were offered on it foreshadowed Yeshua’s death on the cross. Yeshua is the ultimate sacrifice, with the power to not only cover sin but take it away. He is the “one sacrifice for sins for all time” (Hebrews 10:12), through whom those who believe in Him are reconciled to God.
The washbasin is the second item in the outside courtyard of the Tabernacle. It was made of bronze and its dimensions are unspecified. In it, Aaron and his sons were to wash their hands and feet before entering the Holy Place for ministry. This washbasin and the water in it can represent the waters of baptism in the life of a believer.
Table of Showbread
The Table of Showbread was inside what was called the Holy Place. It was made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. Its dimensions were two cubits long, one cubit wide, and one and a half cubits high. On it were twelve loaves of unleavened bread that were baked fresh each week and eaten by the priests. This bread resembles the unleavened bread of which Yeshua said “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19).
The Incense Altar was also located inside the Holy Place. It was also made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. It was one cubit square and two cubits high. On it, Aaron was to burn a special mix of incense in the morning and at twilight. The Incense Altar and the burning incense is a symbol of prayer just as David says in Psalm 141:2 “May my prayer be set before you like incense.”
Golden Lampstand (Menorah)
This Golden Lampstand (Menorah) was made of pure gold, and was the only source of light in the Holy Place; therefore, it was continually lit. Its exact dimensions are unspecified, even though its design is very specific in Exodus 25:31-40. Along with other symbolisms, this item points to Yeshua as the only “true light that gives light to everyone” (John 1:9), and the church/believers which are the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant was kept inside the Holy of Holies—a room within the Holy Place separated by a veil embroidered with cherubim. The Ark of the Covenant held multiple sacred symbolic items and represented the presence of God. It was the holiest object in the Tabernacle and was prioritized above all others.
When Yeshua died on the cross, the veil that separated the Ark of the Covenant from humans was torn. This signified that the separation between God and man was no longer as it was, and that now humans have the privilege of having the presence of God within them through the Holy Spirit. Yeshua’s sacrifice is sufficient! What a great comfort to those who believe.
These are only a few of the symbolisms God crafted into the Tabernacle’s design. May these truths encourage you as you either prepare for a trip to Israel or learn about them from afar.