Here is my technical model of the Tabernacle, which follows the "letter of the Law", so to speak, found in the book of Exodus. It serves as the basis for my three "Messianic Images", which are admittedly more artisticly driven then they are technical. For instance, my first image (which depicts the rib cage of Christ) doesn't show the boards on the South, as they would obstruct the view of the interior that I wanted to show. This technical layout is meant to "bridge the gaps" between symbolic art, Biblical scholarship, and sound reason.
Since Moses never told us the depth of the boards, the length of the tenons, or the exact positioning of the corner boards and pillars, EVERY model (out of the many you can find online) has to make assumptions here. Mine is no different. To be honest, it is impossible for anyone to know exactly how the Tabernacle was laid out, without an amazing archeological find. In other words, one of the boards would have to be found and measured to "prove" one's theoretical layout. That being said, I think that a very strong case can be made for the above layout using deductive reasoning and mathematics, as you will see below.
As I've protrayed in my "Messianic Images", it's my belief that the boards were mini representations of Noah's Ark (which was 300x50x30 cubits). Since Scripture doesn't specifiy the length of the two tenons under each board or the board's depth, I used the mathematical relationship between the two related dimensions that we know for certain--the width of both the Ark and the boards. Since Noah's Ark was 50 cubits wide, and the boards were 1.5 cubits wide, we can easily determine the mathematical scale between the two objects, which is 1 to 33.333 (infinitely repeating 3's). This ratio can now be applied to the two unknown dimensions, making the visible board length (the upper portion not covered by the silver bases) 9 cubits and the board depth 0.9 cubits (0.5 for the board and 0.2 on either side for the gold rings).
(not including tenon)
(including gold rings)
|Tabernacle Board||1.5||9 (+1 for tenons)||0.9|
Dimensions in cubits. 1 cubit =18 inches, measured from elbow to fingertips
It should be noted here, for those thinking my measurements are wildly inventive, that several Jewish Rabbis and authorities agree that the boards were essentially 1 cubit thick. A quick internet search on your part will validate my claim. Click here, for instance, to read a Tabernacle description given at Jewish Encyclopedia.com. In like manner, the reputable New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia also supports the 1-cubit board thickness and says of the silver bases that they were "about 1 cubit high". Click here to read their Tabernacle description.
Watch this updated video (uploaded on 4/3/2015) for a full description of the Tabernacle's layout, featuring a model I built.
As you can see, I have spent countless hours on this project. Scripture study. Online research. Mathematical puzzling. Computer illustrations..... It's been alot of work. You might find yourself wondering, "What's the point? Why go through all this trouble? Why spend all this time on a mere theory?"
In conclusion, let me list a few motivating factors that have driven me forward in this project:
1) I love to contemplate the Scriptures. God's inaudible voice is indescribably beautiful to me. This project has captivated my mind with wonderful themes, especially the wounds of our Lord, bringing me much joy in the process. I wish the whole world could know this joy!
2) The human heart loves a good mystery. We love to puzzle. People spend millions of dollars every year, trying to find things that will get our minds churning. I sometimes think that this is why God seems to hide His face from us. It's not so much that He is displeased with us; He just knows that it's in our best interest to learn how to seek Him. He knows that the human mind delights in "being blown away" by things mysterious and unattainably deep. Let me tell you, there is no mystery deeper than God. His voice is as the sound of many waters. What a joy it is to dive down to explore the depths of that Endless Ocean!
3) I didn't want to release these "Messianic Images" without having done my homework first. Saint Paul instructed Timothy, "Do your best to show yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." I may be a Catholic layperson now, but I did attend Seminary as a Protestant preparing for ministry. Theology has to be taken very seriously, and I never want to present "half-baked" ideas to the public. I believe that I am "doing my best", as Saint Paul exhorts, but whether I am "approved by God" is yet to be seen. The Lord knows how sincerely I desire to be faithful and completely orthodox, and I trust that He will refine me and my works however He sees fit and in His time. In all things, I want everything I say and do to be in keeping with the teachings of Christ as expressed through His one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. All of the priests I have consulted so far have told me that, while being admittedly theoretical in nature (lacking certain archealogical "proofs"), the images express ideas that are entirely consistent with Catholic doctrine. May God keep me there, and may He have mercy on me should I err unintentionally.
Jesus, I trust in Your mercy.
4) Perhaps most importantly, this has been a labor of love. I believe that these images have the potential of shedding some light into dark places. Skeptics may be encouraged to examine the claims of Christ a little more seriously, while lukewarm souls may be encouraged to contemplate the wounds of Christ more deeply, causing them to glow with a burning love for the Savior. Let every heart adore Him!
For the sake of this potential good, I don't want my work to be dismissed lightly, which means that I need to present the strongest logic I can conceive of, with the help of the Lord. This is my aim. I have done my best.
Now it's up to you to decide whether you agree with me or not. I could say that it doesn't matter to me whether or not you agree, because I'm not really interested in winning an argument so that I can puff out my chest and say "I win!" On the other hand, I do care; for I'm convinced that there are beautiful truths to contemplate here that will stir your heart with love for God and His dear Son. That's something I care deeply about, and if one more soul burns a little brighter as a result of my work, all the hours I've poured into this project will have been well spent.
May God be praised!
Return to "Messianic Images" by following one of these links:
"The Missing Rib of the Tabernacle"
"The Western Wall of the Tabernacle"
"The Ark of Salvation"
"Enter His Gates"
"His Banner Over Me"
"The Eastern Gates of the Temple"
Feel free to e-mail me with any comments, or visit my main site here.