November 7, 2015

The Tabernacle and the Temple

The text for this video is modified from the OT Student Manual on Exodus 25-30; 35-40.

"Out of the thunders of Sinai the Lord revealed a glorious plan by which He could redeem the children of Israel. The Lord opened the heavens to Moses and through him [taught Israel how to come back into the presence of the Lord through the atonement of Jesus Christ as represented by the symbolic progression of the tabernacle].

"Deep meaning is associated with the physical dimensions and plan of the tabernacle. They were meant to reflect spiritual patterns that are also reflected in [Latter-day Saint] temples today.

The Tabernacle of Moses
"The tabernacle and its court became a school in which the things of heaven were to be revealed to the Lord’s people. It was originally intended [that all Israelites would be able to progress from the outer court, to the holy place, and then into the holy of holies, symbolically reentering the presence of God]. … This symbolic journey, however, was denied Israel because of her pride and rebellion. Israel lost these higher blessings and became dependent [instead] on the officiating priests who acted as proxy [on their behalf].

"But that loss of privilege in no way implies that the tabernacle lost its significance for Israel. … Though the fulness of [temple blessings were] withheld from Israel, the layout and construction of the tabernacle itself symbolized our progress toward perfection.

"There are three major divisions or areas in the tabernacle: the outer courtyard; the first room of the tabernacle proper, or holy place; and the inner room, or holy of holies. In modern temples three levels of life are also depicted by rooms in the temple: the world, or telestial, room; the terrestrial room; and the celestial room.

"'[The world] room depicts the world in which we live and die. Here instruction is given regarding man’s second estate and the manner in which he may overcome the obstacles of mortality.

"'The terrestrial room is symbolic of the peace that may be attained by men as they overcome their fallen condition through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

"'The celestial room symbolizes the eternal joy and peace found in the presence of God.'

"If we compare the three divisions of the tabernacle with these three levels of spiritual life, we find some interesting parallels and insights.

A comparison of the courts of the Tabernacle with the layout of modern-day temples
The outer courtyard (the world or telestial room)
"The first thing encountered as one entered the main gate [of the tabernacle] was the altar of sacrifice. Here the various animals and other offerings were slain and offered to the Lord [representing the sacrifice of the only begotten Son]. Strict obedience and sacrifice were thus required as the first step in the symbolic progression towards perfection and entry into God’s presence. This first step could be likened to having faith in Christ and repentance. Jesus taught the Nephites that He had fulfilled the law of Moses, and now the sacrifice required of them was 'a broken heart and a contrite spirit,' which would lead to the baptism with 'fire and with the Holy Ghost' (3 Nephi 9:20).

The lavar in front of the tabernacle
"Directly in line next in the courtyard was the laver, or basin of water, which was used for washing and cleansing. …When Solomon built a permanent temple, he placed the laver on the backs of twelve oxen, a symbolism carried on in modern temples. Since the baptismal font itself is a 'similitude of the grave,' where the 'old man' of sin is buried, the symbolism of the laver seems clear. Once the natural man is sacrificed ([or] put to death through a broken heart or sincere and deep repentance), he is cleansed by both the waters of baptism and the fires of the Holy Ghost. Once this cleansing is done, he is prepared to leave the world, or a telestial way of living, and be born into a higher state of spiritual life.

The holy place (the terrestrial room)
"Three articles of furniture were found in the first room of the tabernacle: the table of shewbread, the sacred candlestick, and the altar of incense. Each article had its own significance. The table of shewbread, which had the bread and wine changed each Sabbath day, was a symbol similar to the sacramental emblems of today. They typified the body and blood of the Son of God, of which the spiritual person partakes consistently so that he can have spiritual life in Christ. The candlestick, or lampstand, with its seven branches and its olive oil symbolized the perfect light of the Spirit through which the spiritually reborn person sees all truth.

Furniture found in the holy place
"The third article in the holy place was the altar of incense … which stood directly in front of the veil [representing the prayers ascending to heaven before the veil of the temple]. This altar suggests the third dominant aspect of the person living by the principles and ordinances of the gospel, that is, consistent seeking of the Lord’s power and revelation through prayer.

The Holy of Holies (the celestial room)
"Just as the celestial room in modern temples symbolizes the kingdom where God dwells, so did the holy of holies in the ancient tabernacle. The only article of furniture in this inner room was the ark of the covenant, which the Lord Himself said was the place where He would meet Moses and commune with the people. Both on the veil, separating the holy place from the most holy, and on the lid to the ark were cherubim, or angels. This use of angels provided a beautiful representation of the concept taught in latter-day scripture that one passes by the angels on his way to exaltation (see D&C 132:19).

The ark of the covenant found in the holy of holies
"In summary, the tabernacle and its plan and the ordinances thereof illustrate the grand and glorious symbolism of mankind’s progress from a state of being alienated from God to one of full communion with Him [where we enter back into His presence through the Atonement of Jesus Christ]."


  1. In a tossed sea, this feels as much like an anchor or a lighthouse as does anything; or interpretation as does anyone's. Well, I've yet to find as consistent a source for Biblical clarification as the Book Of Mormon - Another Testament Of Christ. Wow, the Old Testament comes alive and Temple worship, line upon line, seems to make more sense. Very nice. Thank you.

  2. There is another gathering for the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) believers in the Messiah who also did a replica of the wilderness Tabernacle. Maybe you should contact them and check out their gathering during Sukkot. is the site that organized it. I don't host but know the brother who does. My contact info is at on the Contact link from the front page if you want to reach me. Was looking for a way to contact you on here but didn't see a "Contact Me" page... so Hope you will contact me since I can't find a way on here to contact you to discuss all this. Shalom.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.