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THE following note, based largely upon a chapter in The Worship of the Old Covenant (Oxford, 1880), by the Rev. E. F. Willis, is inserted as an illustration of legitimate typical interpretation.

The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews insists emphatically on the fact that all the arrangements of the earthly sanctuary were, according to the divine injunction, modelled after the pattern displayed to Moses on the mount1. It is evident that in his view the description of the sanctuary was an embodiment of divine thoughts, of mysteries which it was the work of the Holy Ghost to partially unveil. Accordingly, to quote Bishop Westcott, 'there can be no reasonable doubt as to the symbolism of the tabernacle. It conveyed of necessity deep religious thoughts to those who reverently worshipped in it. It was, however, a natural and indeed a justifiable belief that the spiritual teaching of the fabric was not confined to its ruling features, but extended also to every detail. There are correspondences between all the works of God which deeper knowledge and reflection make clear. The significance attached to the numbers which continually recur in all the relations of the several parts cannot be questioned.' But we have also to remember that the sanctuary was not simply an epitome of that which is presented on a larger scale in the world of finite being; the archetype to which it answered belonged to another order; the lessons which it conveyed were given in the fullness of time in a form which is final for man," namely in the humanity of Jesus Christ 3.

In its general structure it is not difficult to see that 'the tent of meeting' is a type of Him who was made flesh and tabernacled among us; and that each several part or chamber is emblematic of a dispensation in redemptive

1 Heb. viii. 5. Cp. Exod. xxv. 8, 9; Acts vii. 44.
2 Ep. to the Hebrews, p. 237.

3 Ibid. p. 240.


✦ John i. 14.

history. The outer court with its bleeding sacrifices and its laver of purification symbolizes the preparatory stage of Mosaism with its sacrificial system and comprehensive ceremonialism. The number five, which is the prevailing figure in the measurements of the court, being half of ten, the number of perfection, serves to convey the moral idea of incompleteness, while the inferior metals employed in the construction of the altar and the laver symbolize what is imperfect and rudimentary1. The Holy Place entered by the veil which separated it from the court contained three symbolic objects-the golden altar of incense, the table on which stood the pure vegetable oblation of the shewbread, and the sevenbranched candlestick with its lamps. Here faith may find a type or representation of the Christian Church with its. Eucharist, its sevenfold gift of the Spirit, its perpetual intercession in union with that of its ascended High Priest. But the Holy Place held a position which in itself was parabolic, and not merely prophetic. It witnessed indeed to man's true destiny as called to fellowship with God; but the fact that he might not penetrate to the innermost shrine constantly reminded the Jewish worshipper that he could not yet enjoy the fullness of divine communion 3. In the Holy Place Jehovah was manifested only in condescending grace; in His divine glory and majesty in the Holy of Holics alone. Thus the realities (avrà rà прáуμara) of heaven itself were typified by the most Holy Place. Its very form was an emblem of God's dwelling-place, for the length and the breadth and the height of it were equal. It formed a perfect cube of ten cubits, as if to suggest the ideal ultimate perfection which the kingdom of God was destined to attain. It was lighted only by the Shekinah, the divine glory dwelling in visible manifestation between the golden cherubim, upon the mercyseat or covering of the ark. The mercy-seat was the sacred place of reconciliation or atonement; the ark was the receptacle of Israel's most sacred possession, namely the tables of the testimony which formed the charter of the divine covenant. Upon the mercy-seat stood cherubimprobably standing figures in human or possibly composite form, representing the most exalted of created beings, nearest to the throne of deity and highest in service, yet reverently stooping as if to gaze into the mysteries of God. The thought

1 See generally Willis, The Worship of the Old Covenant, ch. v; Oehler, Theol. of the O. T. §§ 115-119.

2 Cp. Heb. ix. 9.

4 Cp. Rev. xxi. 16.

Cp. Westcott, Ep. to the Hebrews, p. 250.

is thus visibly expressed that the self-revelation of God is at the same time a self-concealment. The cherubim, according to the usual imagery of the Old Testament, at once proclaim the presence of God and veil His essential glory 1.

The materials of the tabernacle, gold, silver and brass, and the colours of the hangings, blue, scarlet and purple, are employed in such a way as to suggest the ideas of gradation, continuity and splendour. The furniture of the outer court is mostly brass; in the Holy Place no brass is used except in the sockets of the pillars at the entrance. Silver, the emblem of moral purity, is used in the foundations of the Holy Place, and it is noticeable that the capitals of the pillars in the outer court are of the same material, as if to show that 'the highest glory of what the court foreshadowed was inferior to the lowest of that which was typified by the Holy Place 2. The materials employed in the Holy Place and Holy of Holies are acacia wood and gold with which it was overlaid, but the mercy-seat and the cherubim are wrought of solid gold. The colours also are symbolic: white is the emblem of holiness, of soiled robes cleansed from stain. Blue, the colour of the sapphire stone 3, suggested the heavenliness of the divine calling. Scarlet, the colour of blood, signifies created life. Purple, the intermingling of scarlet and blue, is a symbol of the union of two natures, divine and human. All these different materials and colours suggest different degrees of glory and dignity, beauty and excellency: all are emblematic of the holiness, purity and majesty of the kingdom of God. They suggest thoughts of that glorious body of which the Apostle speaks, of that glorious church which Christ purposes to present to Himself.


Once more, the measurements of the different parts of the tabernacle are not without significance. For we cannot but be struck by the stress laid upon number and measure in the Bible. In the account of the tabernacle and of the temple, and in Ezekiel's prophetic description of

1 Riehm, ATI. Theologie, p. 90. On the mercy-seat (n, LXX. Daorpiov) see Willis, op. cit. p. 105; Riehm, loc. cit. Cp. Gifford on Romans, iii. 25. On the cherubim, see Schultz, O. T. Theology, ii. 229 foll. He says (p. 236): The cherubim were not angels, but symbolical figures, combining the noblest qualities of the created world-a man being the symbol of intelligence, a lion of sovereignty, an ox of strength, and an eagle of swiftness.' See also Oehler, § 119.


Willis (quoting Rev. H. Douglas), p. 92.
Cp. Exod. xxiv. 10.

Phil. iii. 21.

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See Schultz, O. T. Theology, vol. i. p. 352 note; cp. Willis, pp. 76 foll. 1 Kings vi and vii.

an ideal sanctuary and city, the dimensions of things are prominently and minutely recorded; and they even find a place in St. John's picture of the heavenly Jerusalem. We have noticed already that while the tabernacle is of oblong shape, the Holy of Holies forms a perfect cube; a contrast which suggests the incompleteness of the visible kingdom of God as contrasted with the ideal perfection towards which it tends. As to the numbers, those which occur most frequently, either singly or in combination, are three, four, five, seven, ten, and twelve. Three is generally recognized as an emblem of what is divine. It symbolizes divine appointment, and corresponds to the revelation of the divine nature and attributes. Accordingly, in the tabernacie we find three main divisions, three veils, three metals used, and three colours. Four suggests the notion of created being, and, as we should expect, the number is very prominent in the structure of the visible sanctuary (äytov KOOLKOV), being impressed upon the general design of the whole building and upon its contents. Seven is the union of four and three; it symbolizes a covenant relationship-the union or reconciliation of man with God. It is not so distinctly characteristic of the tabernacle itself as of the Jewish dispensation and ceremonial regarded in its entirety 2. It corresponds to the name Emmanuel, God with us. number ten denotes perfection or completeness. Its employment in the measurements of the tabernacle suggests the idea that, though temporal in form and use, the structure was yet perfect of its kind. Five, the half of ten, evidently conveys the idea of incompleteness. Finally, the number twelve, four multiplied by three, corresponds to a more intimate relationship between the Creator and the creature than is expressed in the number seven. It symbolizes the indwelling of deity in the creature, and accordingly we find that the number is characteristic of the Church of God in all the successive stages of its history: there are twelve patriarchs, twelve tribes, twelve stones in the breastplate of the High Priest, twelve Apostles of the Lamb. The number is specially prominent in St. John's vision of the heavenly Jerusalem. It corresponds to the consummation of the mystery of the Incarnation—a state or sphere in which God is not merely with men, but in them; not merely visits and redeems His people, but possesses them with His indwelling presence.

1 Heb. ix. I.



In the tabernacle we have the seven-branched candlestick; in the levitical system the number frequently occurs. Cp. Willis, p. 79.


And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.—Isa. xxv. 9.

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THE general results of Old Testament criticism might be summed up in a single sentence in which at first sight two opposite views of the sacred history appear to be contrasted: instead of speaking of the Law and the Prophets' we might equally speak of the Prophets and the Law.' Now it is to be borne in mind that both expressions are found in the New Testament, either totidem verbis or in some equivalent form; but there can be no question that the usual order in our blessed Lord's repeated references to the subject is the Law and the Prophets,' and we might naturally infer from this language the priority in time of the Law. A few moments' attention, however, will show in what sense the phrase 'the Law and the Prophets, though apparently unhistorical, is both perfectly natural and strictly accurate. The history of the growth of the Hebrew Canon supplies the real clue to our Lord's ordinary mode of speech. The formation of the Canon began with the codification, promulgation, and eventual canonization of the book of the Law. The foundation-stone of the work was laid in Josiah's reign, which witnessed 'the dawn of that love and reverence for Scripture with which the true Israelite, whether Jew or Christian, was destined ever afterwards to be identified". The publication of the book of the Law'

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