Succoth - The Mishkan - Tabernacle

David Mitts

““Have them construct a sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them. “According to all that I am going to show you as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, so you shall construct it.” (Exo 25:8-9, NASB)


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Succoth, the Feast of tabernacles derives its authority from the reality of God dwelling in a tabernacle. Often called the wilderness tabernacle to distinguish it from the Temple, this structure and its design tells us much about who we are as living tabernacles of His Presence.

“having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Eph 2:20-22, NASB)

In the construction of the mishkan reflecting the design of ourselves as a living mishkan, we can get some indication of how to walk in that revelation.

First let’s look at the root word for mishkan, shken. The word is made up of the word picture of the shin, the caf, and the nun. Contained in it, is the root word ken, which means yes or agreement and the prefix “sh” which means that which leads to. For example shemayim, which translated as that which leads to the water reminding us that the firmament separated waters above from waters below in Genesis. So the mishkan is the place which leads us to the “yes” of God, or the established will of God. 

As an aside in that context, the priest, the cohen, is the one who reveals the yes of God or uncovers His will.

This is all important when we look at the construction of the place in the earth where God dwells with His people, the mishkan or the tabernacle.

Turning to Exodus 25:8-9 God tells Moses:

““Have them construct a sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them. “According to all that I am going to show you as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, so you shall construct it.” (Exo 25:8-9, NASB)

This tells us that Moses followed a blueprint, or a divine pattern which reveals the nature of the King and His kingdom.

The next series of verses describe the ark and its construction which includes the testimony. The ark is defined by the testimony and actually called the ark of the testimony. The word for testimony is 2 letters “ayin” which is the picture of an eye and “dalet” which is the picture of a door. It is the perspective that opens the kingdom. Since this is main structure in the holy of holies it is the supreme importance the Lord and represents His heart, or the doorway to His love.

““There I will meet with you; and from above the atoning cover, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about every commandment that I will give you for the sons of Israel.” (Exo 25:22, NASB)

This is the picture of the new birth, the covenant that is to be written on our hearts. This is the place of intimacy with God where He bares His heart to His people. This is all about our listening to Him and His voice. It is where He opens the door into intimacy which comes through the ultimate sacrifice of love, the cross. This is explained in depth in the Book of Hebrews but one brief reference sums it up:

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things having come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands, that is, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all time, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Heb 9:11-12, NASB)

The ark with the enclosed testimony represents God’s heart and His spoken Word. It is His mind in a matter, and we are invited to come into oneness with Him. We do this by affirming His atonement which covers our sin but also is an expression of His love. This is the dwelling place of the Shekinah, or His Holy Spirit in Fire and Glory. This is who dwells in our heart! There is more we could say about this but let’s move on to the next room called the Holy Place.

In the Holy Place we see some key components. We have the Menorah, the Candelabra, which burns with light to refer to our spiritual sight. This was made of pure beaten gold, demonstrating that have true spiritual sight, we need purification. Physically this correlates with our eyes, how we see things.

““The eye is the lamp of the body; so then, if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Mat 6:22-23, NASB)

Next in the Holy Place is the table of the showbread. This is sense of taste where we learn to taste the goodness of God. This is both the symbol of His Word which is beyond natural bread but also the communion table where we eat the bread of the Presence. 

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psa 34:8, NASB)

Learning to submit our appetite is an important gateway to intimacy. It is no accident that Yeshua was tempted by His hunger to turn stones to bread. When we serve our appetites, we struggle to serve God. The Apostle Paul described this conflict: 

“For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even as I weep, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who have their minds on earthly things.” (Php 3:18-19, NASB)

Also in the Holy Place is the altar of incense, which speaks to us of our sense of smell. Incense is related to the fragrance of intercession. 

“Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense ascended from the angel’s hand with the prayers of the saints before God.” (Rev 8:3-4, NASB)

Prayers and petitions are a sweet aroma to the Lord. He breathes them in, and they smell sweet to Him. When we activate ourselves in intercession, we allow ourselves to smell the needs of others. Their needs are a sweet aroma as we sacrifice our heartfelt prayers unto Him. Paul relates this in this way:

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my difficulty. You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Php 4:13-19, NASB)

This reminds us to not only pray but to give in to the needs of others. Included in our prayers and gifts is of course our worship. This is true intercession.

Moving to the outermost part of the tabernacle, the mishkan, we see the altar of sacrifice and the laver or washbasin. This is where the people brough their offering for atonement. The laver is where priests wash the offering and themselves. 

This represent to sacrifice of the blood of Yeshua which allows entry and atones for the sin of the people. The laver is where the priests washed themselves before entering and it is symbolic of cleansing ourselves from the effects of the world through the waters of baptism. We need to sanctified by the blood and purified by the waters. 

So if we reverse our explanation, beginning with the outer court where the blood of the sacrifices are shed, the washing of the water which is also a picture of the word cleansing us. Then we proceed to the Holy Place where the Menorah, lights our way, Yeshua being that light of the world and telling us to be the light, we come the incense, the fragrance of intercession and taste the goodness of the Lord in the bread of His presence. Finally, we move into the Holiest place where we receive from the heart and mind of God, the dwelling of the Holy Spirit.

This is the symbology of the mishkan, the tabernacle and gives us a process for our own walk with God.

Hebrews tells us:

“Therefore let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need.” (Heb 4:16, NASB)

Not to become religious but there is a process of purification and sanctification that honors God’s process. He gave Mosesinstruction on the mishkan, which is transformed into our bodies through the new covenant as clearly revealed in the book of Hebrews.

We can use this model of activating our senses in Him. Our sight, our smell, our hearing, our taste all pointing to His goodness.

Activation: Use the mishkan as a pattern for entering into His Presence. 

  1. Apply the blood, confess that you are entering based on His sacrifice not your own works. Take communion with wine.
  2. Wash your hands and heart with the water. Maybe even take the time to wash indicating a separation.
  3. Altar of Incense: Pray intercession as a sweet fragrance.Worship Him with anointed music. 
  4. The Menorah: Let the light in you be His light, ask Him to open your eyes in understanding.
  5. Table of showbread: Take communion with bread. Taste and see that He is good and consecrate your appetites to Him.
  6. The Holy of Holies: The ark of the Testimony. Thank Him for meeting you in your life.
  7. Listen to Him as He speaks to you.



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