It is surprising how much detail Moses was given about constructing the tabernacle. In Exodus 20:1 “God spoke all these words” to Moses. Today in chapter 26 we have God’s detailed instructions; He said to Moses, “moreover you shall make the Tabernacle with …” (verse 1) and there follows detailed instructions of the texture, length and colour of the ten curtains that are to enclose its contents. There are 50 loops and clasps to secure the curtains, and the 50 clasps are of gold (verse 6). Moses is to make “curtains of goats hair” (verse 7) for a top covering, 30 of these are needed: they are to be longer, 30 cubits (nearly 14 metres). Next come the measurements of the acacia wood frames (verses 15-29) and the need for bronze bases (verse 37). Verse 30 stood out particularly, “you shall erect the tabernacle according to the plan for it that you were shown on the mountain”.
Why all this meticulous detail? In Revelation, written when the Tabernacle and Temple were things of the past, the Apostle John says he “turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden Lampstands, and in the midst of the Lampstands one like the son of man …” (verses 12,13). John is told “the seven Lampstands are the seven churches” (verse 20). The seven churches, the assemblies of believers, are named and described in chapters 2 and 3. They are representative of all the different types of assemblies of “saints” that have existed throughout the earth since that time. Each is told “I know thy works” because the Son of man was in the midst of them.
Paul says to the Ephesian that they were “members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (2:19-21).
Just as God oversaw the construction of a physical tabernacle in the wilderness, we see there is now a spiritual temple that He sees. Do we see it? Just as in Revelation John saw Jesus in the midst of the assemblies of believers, so also Paul concludes his revelation of the true, but unseen state of things by writing, “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (verse 22). Are we conscious of the builder? Are we co-operating with him? Moses is our example. Tragically the majority of people in Moses’ day lost their vision of the spiritual reality behind the physical. Is not the same tragedy happening in today’s wilderness? “Who is on the Lord’s side?”