The sides of the tabernacle were comprised of boards of acacia wood, fitly framed together, standing upon a base of silver sockets, overlaid with gold. Its solid framework was made up of 48 boards, 20 being on the north side, 20 0n the south, 6 on the west, with a corner-board at each end. Thus the length of the tabernacle would be 30 cubits (45ft.) long, the boards being a cubit and a half in width. Its height was 10 cubits (15ft.), its width was exactly the same, namely 10 cubits (15ft.) Each board was maintained in its place by two tenons, or hands, which were grasped by two sockets of silver. Then in to order to bind the whole in one compact body and strength and security, 5 bars of acacia wood with gold—same as the boards—ran along the 2 sides, and also along the end at the west; 15 bars in all being inserted in rings of gold attached to the boards. The third, or middle bar, stretched across the whole length of the building—45 feet; of the length of the other cross-bars we are not informed.
The corner-boards at the extreme end—north and south—were coupled together at top and bottom by rings of gold, in addition to the tenons and silver sockets at the base. These corner-boards then would knit the ends so firmly by their fastening of rings, tenons, and sockets, or blocks of silver, that a breakdown was impossible, while the sides were equally upheld and maintained by the bars. Without these boards there would have been no tabernacle to house its furniture and no place for the priests to serve in. Moreover, without them the beautiful curtains could not have been displayed.Upon the golden boards, held together by the golden bars, resting in their silver sockets, were sustained all the weight of the curtains and coverings.
The 40 sockets of silver (v.19) were for the 20 boards on the south side. For there was 2 sockets of silver for every one board. We find that the same provision was made for the 20 boards on the north side; while v.25 we learn that the 8 boards at the western end had also 2 sockets each. Thus there were 96 in all. Each board was maintained in its place by the 2 tenons or “hands” which fitted into and were grasped by the silver sockets. The 96 silver “sockets” formed the foundation, and upon them rested the whole fabric of the tabernacle. It is estimated that there was over 5 tons of pure silver just in the sockets. That would be about $1,650,000 in 2009.
The boards, bars, and sockets—a type of Christ and the believer.
The wooden boards of the tabernacle are a type of the believer. How is that, you may ask! You remember that wood speaks of humanity. Where does the acacia tree (from which the tabernacle boards are made of) get its resources, strength, and growth? From the world, right? It has its roots firmly dug into the earth below it. In order for these trees to be of any value and use they had to be severed and uprooted from the earth. For you see the acacia tree’s natural condition is that of knots and twists and really isn’t of much use for building purposes unless trimmed. After it was cut down, it was cut-up and smoothed out. We as believers grew in this world and drew from the world’s resources to meet the needs of our life. Then we were cut down. This means a severance from the old life, our link with the earth broken. Saul of Taursus was one of these trees. While on his way to Damascus, he was met by God and cut down to the earth. How we need to be straightened, and how we object sometimes! The work of the Spirit is a continuous one.
There is development, a shaping into Christ like character a daily growing in grace and in knowledge of Christ.
The sap of selfishness must be dried out; the knots of hardness must be smoothed down; the twist of half-heartedness must be straightened, and the root of bitterness uprooted. The acacia boards, having been, prepared so far as their natural condition was concerned, were then overlaid, and thus beautified with pure gold. You never saw the wooden boards because of the gold.Remember gold is a type of Deity and is imperishable.
God not only works in the natural man and transforms the human nature, but also clothes us with His own Divine nature. Peter tells us we become,
“partakers of the Divine nature” (2Pet.1:4).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2Cor.5:17).
When God looks upon us now, all He sees is gold.
The wood of our humanity has been totally covered by the person of Jesus Christ and His righteousness.
To have looked at that tabernacle board, you would not have known it was made of wood unless someone told you, for the wood was completely encased in gold. To look at it, that board would have appeared to be a solid gold plank.
That is how God sees us –as solid gold. As mentioned earlier the sockets were made of silver. Silver in the Bible represents redemption, atonement and ransom money and the price of a soul. Peter interprets this symbol for us when he says,
“For asmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your fathers; But with the precious Blood of Christ, as a Lamb without spot; who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1Pet.1:18-21).
Jesus was sold for silver (Matthew 26:15). On the face of each board had its lower extremity 2 tenons (“hands”)—projections that allowed it to stand solidly in the sockets of its foundation. The mention of 2 tenons carries our thoughts back to 26:15,
“And for the tabernacle you shall make the boards of acacia wood, standing upright.”
All ordinary tents were erected by driving in stakes and pins; their existence was dependent on the grip of the desert. But to these boards of God’s tent were given 2 (“feet”), and for them were provided 2 sockets, so they stood independent of the sand of the desert. They stood upright in the desert and not of it. Once, as trees, they were rooted in it. What separated the boards from the sand? Silver—a ransom price. No believer is to stand on the sinking sands of earth’s interpretation of life, but they are to stand firm and upright in the truth of Blood Atonement and the Word of God.
“For no other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus (1 Cor.3:9-14)
If ransomed by Christ, you are not your own.
You should be in the world but not of it (John 17:16-18), separated because of the blood of Christ.
“come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean” (2Cor.6:17).
There are so many Christians who have one foot established in “the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” but have their foot in something else—pleasure, politics, or social standing. They in themselves aren’t bad, and they have their rightful place, but when they are put on a par with Christian living, so as to cause one’s testimony and faith to be weakened, then stability is lost.
While these boards have no relation to the desert, they certainly have one with each other and with God. First note their union with each other. 48 boards stood so “fitly framed together” as to become one building. They all stood, as it were, shoulder to shoulder with such a unity that daylight could not be seen between them. There was no rubbing or chafing because they were so well-balanced. All of this was the result of being on a solid foundation. It is when believers are out fundamently that they are out with each other. One person leaning toward this theory and another toward that dogma means a loss of unity and fellowship into which the Enemy of souls enters and splits the work, or else causes a chafing that creates an irritability which brings discord and discontent. Not only were the boards “joined together by what every joint supplies” (Ephesians 4:16) but they were equal in their height, all of them 10 cubits high. Just as God sees us, all equal in his sight.
What keeps the boards from falling? The 5 bars God gave to the Church to stabilize her: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Ephesians 4). Each of these ministries is needed to keep the boards straight, to keep the Church standing strong.
- Apostles govern the Church.
- Prophets guide the Church.
- Evangelists gather the lost.
- Pastors guard against wolves.
- Teachers ground believers in the Word.
“Know ye not that you are the temple of God?” (1Cor.3:16).
Also read Ephesians 2:19-22.