Scriptural Inspirations:Exodus 25-30, Genesis 2, Genesis 14, Psalm 110, Psalm 22,
Hebrews 3-10, Ephesians 4:31-32, Romans 5, John 6:35-58, John 19, Luke
UPDATE: The Above Image (with its description on this page) are a few years old.
For an updated description of the Tabernacle, watch this video:
"The Missing Rib of the Tabernacle"
The inspiration for this first image came to me one day as I was reading
the book of Exodus. When I read about the altar of incense that was
to be placed before the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, I found myself
praying, "O Lord, make my heart burn night and day with love for
You. May my adoration rise like perpetual incense before You."
It struck me that this altar of incense was a beautiful picture of
a heart ablaze with love for God. As I imagined myself in this dark
and holy Tabernacle, with the light of the seven-lamped Menorah reflecting
off of the golden pillars on either side, my mind's eye caught a glimpse
of what seemed to be a rib cage surrounding that glowing "heart"
of the Tabernacle. But why, then, was there this assymetry in the design--five
pillars at the entrance and only four at the curtain of the Holy of
Holies? This missing pillar/rib reminded me of how Eve was created from
one of Adam's ribs. Could this be some mystical reference to Christ--the
New Adam--whose Bride, the Church, was made from His wounded side, just
as Eve proceeded from the side of Adam?
O, such a generous donation! Jesus, God in the flesh, slept the deep
sleep of death, so that we might have life. In effect, He allowed His
lungs to collapse on the cross, so that ours may be supported, making
us fit to breathe the breath of Heaven again, restoring our relationship
The Catehism of the Catholic Church puts it this way:
The Church is born primarily of Christ's total self-giving for
our salvation, anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and
fulfilled on the cross. The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized
by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified
Jesus. For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of
death upon the cross that there came forth the ‘wondrous sacrament
of the whole Church." As Eve was formed from the sleeping Adam's
side, so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging
dead on the cross. (Catechism, 766)
There are a few other points to ponder as you look at this image.
First of all, you'll notice the reddish-blueish covering that is coupled
together with 50 golden clasps. God commanded Moses to create three
coverings for the Tabernacle. The first covering was made of red, blue,
and purple material with interwoven linen. It consisted of two sets
of "curtains", each containing five strips of fabric sewn
together. The two five-piece curtains became one ten-piece curtain when
they were coupled together with the golden clasps, just in front of
the Holy of Holies. Could these seams and openings indicate the torn
and battered flesh of Jesus Christ? And could one of these golden clasps
indicate the very place He was pierced in His sacred side?
Then notice how the curtain before the Holy of Holies is separating,
showing the radiance of God's Shekinah glory emanating from the Ark
of the Covenant. Remember that when Jesus was crucified that the veil
of the Temple was torn in two, indicating that He had gained entrance
for all who trust in Him as their Savior and Great High Priest (Heb.
The table in the back is for the Bread of the Presence. Twelve loaves
would have been placed upon it in the Tabernacle. I have included two
wine vessels, once again calling to mind Melchizedek who's offering
included bread and wine--a clear Eucharistic reference. As our Lord
Jesus said, "This is my body. This is my blood."
The meaning of the five rods and silver cup will become more clear
in the next image, entitled "The Tabernacle's Western Wall".