Scriptural Inspirations: Exodus 25-26, Leviticus 16, Psalm 110, Psalm 22,
Hebrews 3-10, Matthew 26: 26-29, John 19

"Five Wounds and the Western Wall"

This image depicts the rearmost wall of the Tabernacle that faced West and explores the possibility that this structure may have symbolically prefigured the five principle wounds of Jesus Christ.

Moses' Tabernacle was made to be portable as the people of God wandered in the wilderness for forty years. It consisted of large gold-plated boards or "frames", measuring 10 cubits tall and 1.5 cubits wide. Each board had two tenons on the bottom that were inserted into two silver bases. There were 20 boards on the North, 20 boards on the South, 6 boards in the back, and 2 corner boards--48 altogether with 96 silver bases. These were held together with 5 bars on each of the 3 sides. 4 of these bars passed through exterior rings, while the 5th bar passed through the middle of the boards from one end to the other. You can read all about the Tabernacle's construction in the book of Exodus.

The Lord God is very specific about how the corner boards were to be "separate beneath, but joined at the top, at the first ring" (Ex. 26:24), which may have affected the placement of the rear five bars as shown above. Four bars passed through exterior rings, which (at least in this image) symbolically suggest the piercing of Christ's feet and hands. The middle bar, passing through the center, seems to signify the lance which pierced the side of the Lord Jesus Christ and passed through His Sacred Heart, the center of His being, causing that saving flow of blood and water.

The careful observer will notice that one of the silver bases in this image is filling with blood, like a silver Chalice of the consecrated wine which becomes the blood of our Lord in the Eucharistic celebration.

Do you see how the Levitcal High Priest foreshadowed the coming of Jesus, the Great High Priest, according to the order of Melchizedek? One time per year a son of Aaron would enter the Holy of Holies to sprinkle blood on the Mercy Seat of the Holy Ark of the Covenant. This earthly Tabernacle, according to the ninth chapter of the New Testament book of Hebrews, was but a shadow of the Heavenly reality that was shown to Moses on Mount Sinai. Jesus Christ entered with His own perfect blood into that Heavenly Reality once and for all to perform the atoning work of Redemption, becoming the source of eternal hope for all who trust in His Divine Mercy.

It should be noted that there are differing measures for a Biblical cubit. 18 inches is standardly accepted, but there are known instances when the word "cubit" designates a longer span. I find it a curious "coincidence" that from a man's sternum to his wrist is precisely 1.5 cubits or 27 inches (at least on me, at 5'10"). If the Tabernacle's construction was based on an 18 inch cubit, the above image, showing the wrists and feet of Christ precisely aligning with the bar-holding rings, is not a huge stretch of the imagination. Admittedly, it's hypothetical, but it is something to ponder.

Finally, consider how Golgotha (the hill where Christ Jesus was crucified) is located to the West of the Temple Mount. Since the Temple faced East, one can almost imagine the shadow of His Cross being cast on the Temple's back wall at 3 o'clock. Perhaps this shadow was not literally seen, but can you see it spiritually? Saint John describes the New Jerusalem as being entirely made of transparent gold. Could you see Him there if those golden walls were transparent?

The voice of the Lord is as the sound of many waters. Think deeply.

Prayer of St. Francis to the Crucified Jesus

Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus,
while before Thy face I humbly kneel;
and with burning soul pray and beseech Thee
to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity,
true contrition for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment.
While with great love and tender pity
I contemplate Thy five wounds,
pondering over them within me
,
calling to mind the words
which David, Thy prophet, said of Thee, my Jesus:
"They have pierced My hands and My feet;
they have numbered all My bones."


Click here for a technical study of the Tabernacle I developed to accompany these images.

 

 

 
   

 

 

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