The Mystery of the Tabernacle – Part I

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The Numeric Meaning of the Mishkan


The ancient prophetic Hebrew Scriptures devote more time and attention to the Tabernacle, and everything contained inside the Tabernacle than to any other single thing. 

The most prominent and significant items found inside the Tabernacle would include the Altar of Burnt Offering, the Laver, the Table of Showbread, the Lampstand, the Altar of Incense, the Ark of the Covenant, and finally the Mercy Seat. 

Other items would include the stone tablets on which were written the ten commandments, the manna preserved in a clay jar, the budding staff of Aaron and much more.

What is this all about?

The answer is actually quite startling and is preserved and revealed in the four letter word Mishkan.  Mishkan is spelled Mem, Sheen, Kaf and Noon. 

Mishkan is the Hebrew word we translate into English as Tabernacle. 


Noon         Kaf         Sheen         Mem


Transliteration: mishkan
Phonetic Spelling: (mish-kawn')

There is one major theme revealed in the picture and number translation of the Hebrew word we translate as Tabernacle. 

All the other mysteries contained in all the sacrifices, ceremonies furnishings, and architecture of the Tabernacle spring from this one Eternal Truth. 

The Tabernacle was built on the earth but is actually a Divine Shadow Type of something everlasting in the heavenlies.

Before we attempt to unravel the single most important mystery revelation in the entire world lets explore a brief summary of the Tabernacle. 

You can find a much more detailed account by reading Exodus 25 through 40. 

The Tabernacle was the place where God would meet with His people, Israel.

However, before the Tabernacle was constructed God met with Moses in a temporary “tent of meeting": Moses would pitch a tent outside and some distance away from the camp of Israel. Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the “tent of meeting” outside the camp.  As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses "face-to-face". This is recorded in Exodus 33:7, 9.

What was this all about? 

The first question we need to ask is why was the “tent of meeting” pitched outside and a good distance from the camp of Israel?

The answer is that Moses set up the tent of meeting as instructed by the LORD outside of the camp of Israel because the Israelites had betrayed, and broken fellowship with Him at Mt. Sinai. 

The story of this disobedience and faithlessness became a scandal that God could not ignore. You can read about this tragic episode of the golden calf in the book of Exodus.

Understanding the rift between God and Israel is the shadow arch-type of God’s rift with all mankind. 

This is not just a quarrel that leaves both parties separated but intact. NO! This separation between God and Man if left un-mended will result in a permanent separation from our Creator that has a name. It is called the eternal death. 

This condition is literally a fate worse than death because it is a conscious death with no remedy, only regret and hopelessness multiplied by never ending existence. 

Words cannot fully explain this tragic condition that once realized is permanent and unalterable. If you scoured the dictionary and compiled a list of the grimmest and terrible words in the English language, it would not even come close to describing this condition. 

So as we explore the word Tabernacle, we need to keep the estranged condition in which man finds himself at the forefront of our thinking. 

Man has a problem that becomes more perilous with every heartbeat and passing minute. That is simply a reality of life as we now experience it. To be unaware of this condition is a harbinger of hopelessness. 

God wants us to know how bad things are. Without this foundational truth and knowledge firmly fixed in the mind and heart of man the condition cannot be altered or remedied and man's doom is fixed and certain. 

Man is in trouble and God knows it. Sadly many men fail to realize how perilous their condition is until it is sadly too late to do anything about it. 

With this reality in mind, let’s continue our abbreviated summary of the Tabernacle.

After some time had passed, God provided Moses with specific instructions to build a Tabernacle, a place of sacrifice and worship.

The “tent of meeting” was about to transform into the Tabernacle according to the precise plans given to Moses by God. This is recorded in Exodus 25-27.

This new “tent of meeting” as it came to be called or tabernacle could be taken up and moved each time the children of Israel changed locations as they wandered in the wilderness.

The literal conventional meaning of the word tabernacle or “mishkan”, is “dwelling place.”

The Tabernacle was a temporary dwelling place for the Ark of the Covenant and the other holy items already mentioned in the first paragraph of this article.  All the furnishing and items that God instructed Moses to build were designed by God Himself. The pattern or plans given to Moses were to follow to the letter. There was nothing haphazard about the temple that God Himself designed. It was so important to get it all exactly right that God actually chooses a couple of men and filled them with His own Spirit in order for them to be able to do the workmanship that He required.

But more important than all the furnishings was the fact that the Tabernacle was the place where God came down to dwell among His people. The glory of the Tabernacle could not be found in the architecture or ornate furnishings of the Tabernacle. The only glory the Tabernacle could claim was the glory of the LORD who made His temporary dwelling place in the Tabernacle among His people.

We can read the story of the Tabernacle in the book of Exodus chapter 25 through chapter 40. Moses was given all the instructions on how to build this portable Tabernacle at Mt. Sinai. The Tabernacle was to be the center of Israel's life.

What makes the Tabernacle itself so very important and of great interest is the fact that the precise instructions that God gave Moses to build the Tabernacle were based on the pattern of a heavenly Tabernacle. 

Exodus 25:9
According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

Hebrews 8:5
Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the TABERNACLE: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

With that important fact in mind, let's make a thumbnail sketch in our minds of what the Tabernacle looked like.

The courtyard of the "tent of meeting"Tent of Meeting that included within it the Tabernacle was 150 feet long and 75 feet wide. The centerpiece of this area was an altar for burnt offerings and a large wash basin for the priests.

The actual Tabernacle itself was 45 feet long and 15 feet wide. It was divided into two sections. The first section or court contained an incense altar, a lampstand, and a table with 12 loaves of bread. 

The next section called the inner court was home for the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant, among other consecrated items, contained the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written. 

For 40 years the Israelites took the Tabernacle with them as they wandered through the wilderness from Mount Sinai and finally to the Promised Land.

After the children of Israel entered and conquered the land of Israel, Solomon, the son of King David, built the first permanent Temple in Jerusalem. This magnificent Temple was also patterned after the Tabernacle.  

In other words, the Temple replaced the Tabernacle, but the purpose of the Tabernacle and the precise way it was to be built did not change. The Temple became a permanent structure built in Jerusalem as God had instructed and the center of worship for the Children of Israel.



Noon         Kaf         Sheen         Mem

Pictographic Meaning of Tabernacle


Mem is the picture of Water
Sheen is the Picture of Teeth
Kaf is the Picture of an open Palm
Noon is a Picture of a Fish.

The meaning of these pictographs will be explained and much more in Part 2 of The Mystery of the Tabernacle.

Thank you for taking the time to read or listen to this article.

Stay tuned for our next article where we discover the multilayer pictographic and numeric meaning of the Mishkan. You will not want to miss this important revelation. 

Until then keep looking up.


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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Ralph Karras says:

    I completely enjoy the facts associated with each new name or word published. I am attempting to learn Hebrew. The language is a challenge but the picture and numbers really have helped me. Thanks. Shalom

  2. Joan says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for this instruction. One thing I might have wished for is to learn that the Hebrew letters run from right to left. It would make it easier to understand the pictorials. I look forward to more insights into the Old Testament.

  3. hank quant says:

    Know and ponder that the mystery of mysteries, and the secret of secrets is the Holy of Holies! Those who know it are not permitted to divulge it! In Hebrews 9:5, “And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercy-seat; of which we can not now speak in detail.” Did Jesus teach a secret? The entire gospel is ‘the kingdom of God’ which he never divulges its true meaning but tells his disciples to give everything in parables that they may see but not understand. He only reveals the secret meaning to his disciples in private. Those who really know these depths are certain early church fathers. Know that a select few know and reveal the depths of these secrets with much reservation yet write them down on some level so they are not lost entirely. These depths can be found within the Kabbalah written by the late Gershom Scholem from Hebrew University which I have researched and studied for over forty years. Kabbalists felt it was dangerous and forbidden to reveal such secrets of Torah! We also find with a select few early church fathers who state, ‘Keep the Mysteries for me…he explained to his disciples privately the mysteries of the kingdom…It would be impious to state the hidden truths.’

  4. Linda Herz says:

    I am so blessed each week with Word Discovery. Thank you so very much.

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