… on the east three gates …
When Moses was on the Mount Adonai told Him to replicate among Israel all things as he was shown them (Exodus 25:9,40). It stands to reason therefore that the tabernacle, its furnishings and encampment, are the shadow of the Almighty’s throne room and its surroundings.
On the Mt, Moses was given the tablets of the Testimony of the renewed covenant written by the finger of God. These were to be placed in an ark of acacia wood within the vicinity of elements of worship. This was called ‘The Tabernacle’ and constituted the ‘throne room’ of God. This throne room was to be surrounded by the Levite camp, itself surrounded by the twelve tribes, three tribes on each side. When Balaam saw the whole encampment from afar he was so moved by the spirit of Hashem that he exclaimed, How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel (Number 24:5)!
From the book of Leviticus we learn that the three concentric circles around the Tabernacle are three concentric circles of holiness or ritual purity. To have God in their midst was great but it was also dangerous. Protocol could not be broken; we remember what happened to the sons of Aaron Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10). Levi was therefore a sort of a buffer zone between the presence of God and the Children of Israel.
A similar pattern is found in the City of God, New Jerusalem which John describes for us in the last two chapters of the Book of revelation. In this case, the whole city is holy and has no need of the light of the sun for God Himself is its center giving it light and His lamp is the Lamb (Revelation 21: 23). Like the camp of the Shekinah in the desert, the city is surrounded by the tribes of Israel which are its gates. Just as one can only enter the redemptive covenant of Israel through Yeshua of the tribe of Judah, one can only enter the city by way of one of the tribes of Israel. We are told also that the city rests on the foundation of the disciples of Yeshua when he was on earth.
The sages of Israel often analogized the whole idea of the Tabernacle into the human body. The Tables of the Testimony in the middle of the Shekinah camp represented the place of the heart in our bodies.
In this world, we can only find sense, purity and holiness if the Word, the Lamp of the Lamb is at the center of our lives, focus, and attention. When our lives seem disoriented or even ‘off-center’, may we consider that perhaps we have diverted our attention to other things from that which is most important: God and His Word.
This word ‘disoriented. It is one we use when we lose our sense of location. It means ‘to lose the East’. The Tribe of Judah where our Master is from was placed on the East side of the Tabernacle. He is our East helping us make sense of life. May we never lose our ‘East’!