The Tabernacle

The Bible in Art: The Tabernacle    

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Verses for Consideration: Exodus 32:21 

10 “Have them make an ark of acacia wood-two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.11 Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. 12 Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. 13 Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry it. 15 The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed. 16 Then put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law, which I will give you.

17 “Make an atonement cover of pure gold-two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide.18 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. 19 Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends. 20 The cherubim are to have their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking toward the cover. 21 Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the tablets of the covenant law that I will give you.



The ark of the covenant was the most special of all the furnishings in the tabernacle. The ark was a wooden box, 45 inches long, 27 inches high, and 27 inches wide.

Inside were the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone, Aaron’s staff, and a jar of manna. More important was what was on top of the ark. The ark’s cover was pure gold. Two golden angels stood on each end of the cover, their wings spread toward each other. The area of the cover under their wings was called the atonement cover. That’s where God lived among Israel.

The ark of the covenant was kept in the tabernacle’s Most Holy Place. Only the high priest could enter that place and only once a year on the Day of Atonement.

The High Priest would enter the Most Holy Place with the blood from a sacrifice and sprinkle the blood over the mercy seat. The blood on the lid of the ark pointed to the coming Messiah’s blood, which would atone for the sins of the world so all people could be forgiven.

1 John 2:1,2 speaks of that: “We have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

When Jesus poured out his blood for us on the cross, he won forgiveness for all people for all times. The only way we can miss out on his forgiveness is by failing to trust that Jesus is our Savior. Our sins are atoned for by the blood of the Lamb of God.

Think of the price God was willing to pay so you could be forgiven! Confess your sins to Jesus, and know that you are forgiven. Know also that God will be with you always and will always love you because of what Jesus has done.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, I confess that I have sinned against you. Keep my faith strong so that I never forget that you have saved me by sending Jesus as my Savior. Amen.


Title: The erection of the Tabernacle and the Sacred Vessels (1728)

Artist: Gerard Hoet