The building of the Tabernacle involved participation on the part of the Israelites from the beginning. YHVH showed Moshe the building plans and a heavenly model so that he would understand exactly what needed to be done (Exodus 25:9, Heb 8:5). Then YHVH gave Moshe a list of items needed for the Tabernacle. Moshe was instructed to share the list with the Israelites. They were to take from their possessions in order to have the necessary building materials. Where did they get the materials in the first place? From YHVH Himself. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow (James 1:17). Since the Israelites gave of their own possessions and, later on, their time and talents, they had a significant stake in the Tabernacle and in the worship of YHVH.
The list that YHVH gave to the Israelites was as follows:
- gold, silver, and bronze;
- blue, purple, and scarlet thread;
- fine linen and goat hair for cloth;
- tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather;
- acacia wood;
- olive oil for the lamps;
- spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense;
- onyx stones and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece.
Every item on the list points not only to Yeshua, but to us who are seeking to become like Yeshua. Each listed item symbolizes a characteristic of Yeshua and, by extension, should symbolize a characteristic of His followers. What can we learn from this list?
In this first article we will examine gold, silver and bronze. Gold and silver are precious metals and, for the Tabernacle, had to be “pure” (Exodus 25:11) and “refined” (1 Chronicles 28:18). YHVH refines us through fiery trials so that we may be purified. “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand (Dan 12:10). Gold is symbolic of YHVH’s kingship, glory and holiness and we are meant to reflect His glory and holiness. Gold is one of the least reactive chemical elements. When the blood was sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant (made of pure gold), the gold did not tarnish. When we are sprinkled with adversity, it should not discolor or corrode us.
Silver signifies redemption, which means to purchase back at a cost. Yeshua paid the highest price to redeem us. The Hebrew word for silver is ‘kesef,’ meaning a very strong desire. According to Strong’s Concordance, the root for this Hebrew word is:
H3700 – כּסף – kâsaph – kaw-saf’ – A primitive root; properly to become pale, that is, (by implication) to pine after; also to fear: – [have] desire, be greedy, long, sore.
Generally, when we purchase something at a steep cost, we expect to possess something of substantial value. Yeshua “pined after” us so much that He was willing to lay down His life in order to get us back. Do we pine after Yeshua to the extent that we are willing to lay down our lives in order to follow Him?
Many scripture passages tie bronze to sin and judgment. The bronze Sea where the priests were to wash was constructed so that they could see their reflections in order to ensure that they did not miss any dirt. Scripture and Yeshua (the living Torah) are our “bronze Sea” where we can examine ourselves in order to remove any stains or blemishes. For it is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the Law who will be declared righteous (Rom 2:13). For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror— 24 for once he looks at himself and goes away, he immediately forgets what sort of person he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect Torah, the Torah that gives freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts—he shall be blessed in what he does (James 1:23-25)
The bronze altar signifies that YHVH is willing to take our judgment upon Himself, but only if we are willing to repent of our sins. In the case of King Zedekiah who was not willing to repent, we see that he was carried off to Babylon in bronze shackles (2 Kings 25:i7). If we are not willing to repent of our sins, we will have to deal with YHVH’s judgment ourselves.
Just as the Israelites offered treasures, time and talent to build a Tabernacle for YHVH, each of us must do the same as we prepare ourselves as fitting tabernacles for YHVH. We will continue our study of the significance of the elements in the next article in this series entitled Living Tabernacles.
Each of us is now a tabernacle for YHVH. Yeshua replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them (John 14:23). The materials for the Tabernacle were costly and of the finest quality. What does your tabernacle look like? How are the gold, silver, and bronze reflected in your tabernacle?