Tonight we want to examine the Book of John not only from the surface or its literate value. We shall also see it from a different perspective where we will see that the structure of this book follows the blueprint of the structure of the Tabernacle.
Whether this is by accident or design waiting fro some curious person to come along and discover it I cannot truly say, but I suspect that the agency of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) intended it to be this way. John’s Gospel is transparent in its simplicity, yet there are interior meanings too profound for language, and depths that are deep as infinity; so that every new exploring yields new rewards. One of them is the recurrence of the number eight, that is eight themes, in Hebrew signifying completeness. However, that’s another study. Today we want to explore the structure and its correspondence with the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle was in three parts. There was the large, oblong outer court, 100 cubits long (about 150 feet) by 50 cubits wide (i.e. 75 feet); and inside this toward one end, was the “sanctuary”, which was 30 cubits long by 10 cubits wide. The sanctuary was in two parts-the Holy Place (20 x 10, and at the further end (from entrance of the outer court) was the Holy of Holies (10 x 10). Both the oblong outer court and the oblong inner sanctuary were always pitched in the east-west direction, with their respective entrances on the east. The entrance to the outer court was called the (a)“gate”; that to the Holy Place the (b) “door”;that to the Holy of Holies the (c) “veil.”
The Tabernacle was furnished with seven most significant objects. Entering by the “gate” of the outer court, we find (1) the brazen altar of sacrifice
further in (2) the brazen lavar of cleansing
Passing through the “door” into the Holy Place” we find
(3) the table of showbread (on the right-hand side or north side) with its obligations and libations (Ex. 25:29) or food and drink offerings typifying Yahshua, The Bread of Elohim, and nourished of the Believer’s life as believer-priest (Lev. 24:9)
On the left hand side of the Holy Place stands
(4) the seven thronged golden Menorah or candelabrum, typifying Yahshua as our Light, shining in the fullness of the power of the sevenfold Holy Spirit, who is represented in the oil which feeds the light.
Also in that Holy Place standing just before the “veil” into the Holy of Holies, is the
(5) The golden altar of incense, which speaks typically of Yahshua as our Intercessor, and of the believer-priest’s prayers made fragrant by the all-perfect merits of the precious name in which he prays.
Finally, beyond the “veil”, inside the Holy of Holies, we find the
(6) ark, that most sacred G-d-covered acacia chest, about three feet nine inches long, by two feet three inches wide and high (containing the two stone slabs of the Law (Torah), a golden pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod) typifying the Messiah as the all-perfect ground and center of our covenant relationship with G-d.
Upon this there stood (7) the solid gold mercy seat, over arched by the outstretched wings of the two cherubim which stood, one at each side of it, facing each other, the whole structure being of equal dimensions, with the ark beneath it, and having the throne, or length side, facing the entrance veil. That mercy seat typified the throne of Elohim. It being a throne of grace instead of a judgment seat was due to the blood of atonement, which was sprinkled on it each Yom Kippur on behalf of the sinning Israelites.
But there is something else in the Divinely designed tabernacle which graced those seven progressively sacred objects a consummation of mysterious glory. It was the shekinah, the indefinable, unearthly light which glowed just above the mercy seat between the arching wings of the two cherubim. It was the visible form of the Divine presence.
Now it time to come to the parallel in the Book of John. Like I said earlier we don’t know if John proposed it or not, or if it is an act of the Ruach, I want speculate, but the parallel between the structure of the book and the structure of the Tabernacle certainly is there. Perhaps, it’s because of the basic unity of things in HaShem’s word. The true order of approach to Elohim is one and the same, whether in the perspective of the Tanakh or in the B’rit Chadasha. In John’s Epistle he leads us in exactly the same order.
He begins by leading us to the (1) brazen altar of sacrifice, for twice over in Chapter 1, he bids us (1) “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Then in chapter 3, he has us at the (2) brazen lavar of cleansing and renewal, telling us that that (2) “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of Adonai.”
Next in chapters 4 -6, he takes us to the (3) table of showbread, with it food and drink, recording for us our (3) Lord’s converse with the Sychar woman concerning the “living water” of which, if a man drinks, he shall never thirst again; and our Lord’s great discourse on Himself as the “living Bread” of which, if a man eat he shall live for ever.
Next in chapter s 8 and 9. John takes us to the (4) golden candelabrum or Menorah; for twice over now we have heard our Lord saying (4) “I am the Light of the world,” and “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life”- and the man born blind is given sight as a living illustration.
Then in chapters 14-16, in that long and tender discourse to the Eleven, we find ourselves at the (5) golden altar of incense, learning to pray in a way and by a Name unknown before, learning how to offer (5) prayers in the name of Yahshua our Cohen Ha Gadol, prayers which become fragrant incense when perfumed by the breathing of that Name which, above all others, is dear in the heart of YHVH.
Next in the 17th chapter, in that moving intercessory prayer that we are allowed to overhear as it falls from the lips of our High Priest, our Cohen Ha Gadol, we are taken through the “veil” into the Holy of Holies: we are permitted a glimpse into the high-priestly ministry of intercession, which He exercises for us in the presence of YHVH.
Then in the heart-subduing climax of the “Passion of the Crucifixion,’ we see, in chapters 18 and 19, how the Messiah is at the very (6) Ark of the Covenant, which allows us (6) access to the Father through the covenant relationship through the Messiah our covenant access and (7) the Mercy Seat sprinkled with the holy blood of His own vicarious Self-offering (7) which gives us acceptance and reconciliation at the throne of Elohim by the Kippur,” the covering of the blood of Yahshua. Yet, I would remind you that the Ark also contained the two stone slabs of the Law (Torah), signifying our obedience to Torah, a golden pot of manna, signifying G-d’s provision for us, and Aaron’s rod) typifying the Messiah as the all-perfect ground and center of our covenant relationship with G-d through His high Priestly office. And chapter 20 follows, this is the resurrection chapter, in which our risen Lord at announces our new covenant-relationship with Elohim: “I ascend unto My father and your Father ; My Adonai and your Adonai.”
We have seen that John travels in parallel from the first to the last of the seven objects comprising the furniture of the Tabernacle. And finally, John discloses the reality, which corresponds with the unutterably holy shekinah. In the evening of that wonderful day when Yahshua rose, He suddenly appeared to the Eleven and spoke, Shalom Aleichem, “peace be unto you!” showing them His wounds. Then, before He disappeared again, He both did and said something significant: “He breathed on them, and said unto them, receive ye the Holy Spirit, the Ruach Ha Kodesh.”
Was it accident or design? I don’t think so for0 here we have the Messiah in whom we possess all these seven Divine provisions right from the Altar of atonement to the indwelling presence of the Ruach Ha Kodesh in this Book of John, so you decide.
The Book of John
The parallel between John and the Tabernacle
|The Brazen Altar of Sacrifice||“Behold the lamb of G-d, which taketh away the sin of the World!” John 1|
|The brazen lavar of cleansing||“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of G-d.” John Chapt 4-6|
|The table of showbread||L-rd’s conversation with the Sychar woman concerning the “living water” of which if a man drinks, he shall never thirst again; and our L-rd’s great discourse on Himself as the “living bread” of which, if a man eat he shall live forever. John 4: 9-45|
|The seven thronged golden Menorah (candelabrum)||Typifying Yahshua as our light, shining in the fullness of the sevenfold Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit), who is represented in the oil that feeds the light|
|The golden altar of incense||Typifying Yahshua Ha Mashiach as our intercessor, prayer in the Name of Yahshua John 14|
|Ark of the Covenant||Typifying Yahshua Ha Mashiach as the all-perfect ground, center of covenant relationship with G-d. Yahshua as our covenant access|
|The solid gold mercy seat||Typifies our acceptance to G-d through Yahshua by grace|