The tabernacle was the structure ordered built by God so that he might dwell among His people (Exodus 25:8). It was to be mobile and constructed to exacting specifications. It is referred to in Exodus 25-27, 30-31, 35-40; Num. 3:25ff.; 4:4 ff.; 7:1ff. In all of scripture more space is devoted to the tabernacle than any other topic. Many books have been written on the spiritual significance of the tabernacle, how it represented Christ, and how it foretold the gospel. The tabernacle consisted of the outer court and the tabernacle. The outer court was entered from the East. The outer court contained the altar of burnt offering (Exodus 27:1-8) and the bronze laver (Exodus 30:17-21). The tabernacle stood within the court (Exodus 26:1ff.). It was divided into two main divisions: the holy place and the holy of holies which were separated by a veil (Exodus 26:31 ff.), the same veil that was torn from top to bottom at the crucifixion of Jesus (Matt. 27:51). Where the veil had represented the barrier separating sinful man from a holy God (Heb. 9:8), its destruction represented the free access sinners have to God through the blood of Christ (Heb. 10:19ff.).
The tabernacle was a place of sacrifice. The holy place contained three things: first, a table on which was placed the shewbread, the bread of the presence (Exodus 25:23-30), second, a golden lampstand (Exodus 25:31-40) and third, an altar of incense (Exodus 30:1-7). In the Holy of Holies was the ark of the covenant which contained the Ten Commandments (Exodus 25:16). The holy of holies was entered only once a year by the high priest who offered sacrifice for the nation of Israel.