Pictographic Meaning of Mishkan
Noon Kaf Sheen Mem
As we learned in Part 1, 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.
Understanding the complex and precise design of the Tabernacle could be the work of a lifetime. The furnishings of the Tabernacle and their function and design have been a fascination down through the ages. Add all the rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and complex ordinances and you are left with a maze of possible solutions to what the Tabernacle is all about.
The fascination with the Tabernacle is heightened by the fact that God Himself designed every aspect of the Tabernacle down to the smallest detail. To understand the purpose and how that purpose is disclosed in the architecture and furnishings and ceremonies of the Tabernacle is to get a peek into the mind of God.
We have all seen the seven candlesticks Menorah. This is just one of the ornamental and functional implements that God personally designed. Consider the following:
YHWH commanded Moses to make a Menorah that had one main "stem" and six branches and commanded it to be put in the "holy place" of the Tabernacle and later in the Temple.
"You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece" . . .
And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side.
What is this all about?
Is the Menorah with its six branches a perfect picture of YHVH that lights the six candles that represent YHVH’s spirit of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Strength, Knowledge, and Fear of the Lord?
Is that what the prophet Isaiah had in mind? (Isaiah 11:2-3 where the prophet reveals The Righteous Reign of the Branch):
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Has Isaiah opened up the key to understanding God’s purpose behind the design and function of the Menorah?
You could spend years discovering the secrets hidden in just one of the items God designed to be inside His tabernacle.
I mention this only to draw your attention to the fact that the Tabernacle is full of mysteries, some of which have yet to be solved. If you woke up one morning and decided that you wanted to discover all the hidden meanings behind all that was included in and took place in the Tabernacle, you would wake up every morning to a new challenge, and you would die an old man or woman having only scratched the surface.
With that in mind, I am going to reveal to you the “big idea”, the overarching purpose and the entire reason for the Tabernacle and I am going to do so without using my own wisdom or understanding. I am going to accomplish this by simply pointing out the pictographic and numeric meaning of the four letter Hebrew word Mishkan, the word we translate into English as Tabernacle.
Let’s start by looking at each of the four Hebrew letters or pictures in the name Tabernacle.
Noon Kaf Sheen Mem
Pictographic Meaning of Tabernacle
Let’s begin our study at the very beginning. We learned that Mishkan or Tabernacle is spelled Mem, Sheen, Kaf, and Noon.
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 first letter in any Hebrew word is usually the most important since it gives you the first clue as to what the word is all about.
The question is what does Mem, the letter that is pictured as Waters, have to do with the Tabernacle? If we were describing a river or a lake we might easily put that puzzle piece in the right place, but Waters?
What is this all about?
What is the LORD revealing and why is He doing it with the Picture of Water?
Is this about the massive waters that cause flooding, destruction, chaos, and confusion?
Is this about the waters that fill up the lakes, rivers, and streams?
Is this about the gentle rain that makes the desert bloom?
To answer this important question, we need to have some understanding of how the Lord uses pictures.
The letter Mem can be used by the LORD to reveal actual waters, like the water that fills up our oceans, flows down our streams and falls from the heavens as rain.
The clues as to how to understand that meaning of this picture illustration or pictogram are to understand the context in which the picture is being used.
Not only does the LORD actually tell us what the letter MEM means, He supports that meaning with a second witness that can be found in the other 3 pictures that make up the picture of the Tabernacle.
What are the two things that distinguish the Tabernacle described in the Scriptures from the thousands of other tents with all their furnishings?
The key to unlocking this mystery is to understand that the revelation regarding the Tabernacle is not only about what it is…
It is about where it came from!
The first thing the Lord wants us to be mindful of is the fact that the precise plans for building this dwelling place came from above, they came from the courts of heaven.
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.
If Mishkan is a Dwelling Place, Who Dwells There?
The second thing the Lord wants us to keep in our mind is the fact that He is the one that is going to take up residence in the Tabernacle. Think of it! The LORD of Heaven is going to come down and inhabit the Mishkan, or Tabernacle.
We are still left with this question:
What does this have to do with Waters?
Let’s answer that question with another question.
What picture of MEM best illustrates the two unique disclosures we have just reviewed? The fact that the Tabernacle in the wilderness was designed to the Lord's precise specification and the fact that He came down from heaven to temporarily dwell in this Mishkan or Tabernacle?
Let’s begin to unravel the mystery of the first letter of the Mishkan in light of these two unique revelations.
We should begin with the one picture of Mem that most closely matches the context of both the picture of Water and the revelation that the plans and the resident of the Tabernacle both come from the courts of Heaven.
Obviously, the picture of Mem as Rain is the best fit.
So let’s ask the question. Where does rain come from?
Obviously, the rain comes from above.
So while the letter Mem as used in the Hebrew word Mishkan is not about actual rainwater, it is about some that come down from above just like rain.
So now we know, picture what the Lord had in mind when He revealed to us the four pictures of the Tabernacle that begins with the first thing the Lord wants us to know. Just like the Water comes down from above like rain, the precise plans for building the Tabernacle come from Heaven above.
Just like the rain comes down from the Heavens the ONE who is going to inhabit the Tabernacle comes down from Heaven above.
Just so you would not miss this truth, the LORD has gloriously arranged for you to find a second witness to this fact in the four letters of Mishkan, or Tabernacle.
Within the Tabernacle was the Holy of Holies.
Inside the Holy of Holies there was one wonderful and mysterious piece of furniture that was made up of two parts:
The first part was called the Ark of the Covenant. It was a wooden chest made of Acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold.
The second part was an ornate lid with two cherubim’s of gold with outstretched wings. This ornate lid was placed on top of the Ark of the Covenant. To be very clear, it covered the Ark like a lid. It was called the Mercy Seat.
God commanded Moses to put three things inside the Ark of the Covenant.
The three items were a golden pot of Manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the two stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written.
These three items illustrated the complaints that God had against His people.
The Manna was a reminder of how the Israelites grumbled at and rejected God’s amazing provision.
The budding rod of Aaron was a reminder of how the Israelites rejected God’s leadership.
The stone tablets on which were written the Ten Commandments was a reminder of how the Israelites had broken all of God’s laws.
Any one of these complaints would have been legal grounds for banishment and punishment.
But look at where these three illustrations of the unworthiness and unfaithfulness of Israel are kept. They are kept in secret. They are kept out of the view of man. They are secreted away inside the Ark of the Covenant and covered from view by the Mercy Seat.
Do you see how God uses objects and pictures to make His lessons clear to man?
The one item that is found in the Tabernacle inside the Ark of the Covenant that I want to draw your attention to, one of the three items placed inside the Ark of the Covenant, is the Manna stored in a golden pot.
Now I want you to notice something about the four-letter picture of the Tabernacle. The picture of the Water, Teeth, Palm, and Fish.
If you take the letter pictures Sheen pictured as teeth and Kaf pictured as a Palm out of the Hebrew word Mishkan, what is revealed?
An amazing Hebrew Word emerges. The Hebrew word is Manna. Manna is spelled Mem Noon.
Noon Kaf Sheen Mem
Discovering how the LORD uses the MEM as a picture in the Mystery of the Manna gives us the answer to how the LORD is using the letter MEM in the Mystery of the Tabernacle.
Let’s take a look at how God uses the letter MEM and NOON, the picture of Waters and a Fish, the same two letters we find as the first and last letter of the Hebrew word Mishkan or Tabernacle.
Pictographic Translation of Manna
Rain that brings
In the Conventional Hebrew, Mem Noon the Hebrew word Manna, literally means “What is it?”
The Picture language answers the question.
But the answer is not what we expect at all.
We would expect the Picture meaning to have some reference to Bread, but it doesn’t.
The answer to this question can be found in context of the Chosen Peoples first encounter with Manna.
Exodus 16: 13b -14
And in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
Now lets fast forward to the New Testament and read the account in the Gospel of John and the feeding of the 5000.
Listen to what they said to Jesus.
Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
The Jews did not think that Manna magically appeared on earth, it was their correct opinion that it rained down from Heaven. Yeshua supports this idea as He declares that He is the true life that comes from above. He declares that He came down from Heaven.
Manna is not only connected with Bread but it is also connected with the idea of Rain or Water.
And what are the two most familiar metaphors used by Jesus to describe Himself?
The answer we find over and over again is Water and Bread.
Jesus puts the two metaphors together in one verse in the Bible.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
The Mem Noon or Manna that first dropped to earth from Heaven was given a name that would one day open the door of understanding to a mystery of the Mishkan, or Tabernacle.
The first letter in Mishkan, the Mem, is the first clue that whatever is going on in the Tabernacle is something that has come down from Heaven.
The last letter in Mishkan, the Noon, is the clue that whatever has come down from Heaven has to do with LIFE.
So far this sounds pretty hopeful and promising. But wait, there is a mystery in the second letter of the Hebrew Word Mishkan that is both frightening and perplexing.
If you think that the Tabernacle has only to do with Life then you're going to be challenged to explain the revelation found in the next terrifying picture revealed in the second letter of the Hebrew Word Mishkan.
The meaning of the final two pictographs revealed in the Hebrew word Mishkan will be disclosed in Part 3 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. You will not want to miss this important revelation.
Until then keep looking up.
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