The Theology of the Tabernacle Part 2 -- By: John Vernon McGee

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 094:375 (Jul 1937)
Article: The Theology of the Tabernacle Part 2
Author: John Vernon McGee


The Theology of the Tabernacle
Part 2

John Vernon McGee

(Continued from the April-June Number, 1937)

Chapter II
The Altar of Brass: The Doctrine of Satisfaction
Where Satisfaction is Made to the Holiness of God that Wholly and Completely Vindicates the Sinner.

The blueprints and patterns for the Tabernacle are given in the latter part of the book of Exodus (Exod 25–40). The placing of these instructions is not accidental. Exodus is the book of redemption. It opens in the gloom of slavery of a nation born in the brickyards of Egypt. It closes in the glory of the Tabernacle. It tells the story of how God came down and delivered a people whose only appeal to His heart of love was their need, suffering, and burden. He did not deliver them because they were good folk, moral people, or better than others. These things were not true of them. They had no claim on God whatsoever, but they cried and “their cry came up unto God by reason of their bondage.” Their destitute condition and hopeless circumstance made a real appeal to God stronger than a hoop of steel. For that reason and because of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He led them out of Egyptian bondage. He brought them to Himself on the wings of Infinite Grace. Through

Moses He told them the manner of their release, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” At Sinai they were given the privilege of substituting the law route for the grace route; eagles’ wings for the yoke of law. Even with law which cannot save there must be some manifestation of grace, else there can be no salvation. These people stood utterly condemned by the law; so it was essential to have the intrusion of a way of Grace. In other words God must be free to save sinners, who are now law-breakers with the offense added to and magnified. The Tabernacle was the means of Grace for a people who deliberately chose law instead of the wings of grace.

The Tabernacle was part of the law. The law was in three divisions: the commandments, the judgments, and the ordinances. The commandments were an expression of the person of God. He commands what He does because of what He is. The judgments conditioned the relationship of man towards those about him. The ordinances conditioned the relationship of man toward God. The instructions for the Tabernacle were found in the ordinances. The ordinances provided a temporary hiding place for the sinner in the presence of the holiness of God. In the midst of the Tabernacle instructions, between the giving of the instructions and the construction of the Tabernacle, there is the incident wher...

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