After finishing the furnishings for the tabernacle, the craftsmen turned their attention to making the priestly garments for Aaron, the high priest and his sons, the priests.
The ephod was a garment that was worn over the shoulders. For protection, a breastplate was attached to the ephod. Many of the components of the tabernacle, furnishings and garments were symbolic of things and events past, present and future. Twelve stones were set in both the ephod and breastplate, three in each of four rows to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.
As high priest, Aaron’s garment was exquisite. In addition to the ephod and breastplate, he wore short trousers, a tunic, robe, turban and crown. An inscription on the crown read, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD.”
When all of the work was completed, they brought it to Moses. “According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the Children of Israel did all the work.” It was/is imperative that all be done according to what the Lord commanded.
One year after the Israelites left Egypt, they had been given the Ten Commandments and the laws associated with them. They had been at Mt. Sinai for nine months and the courtyard and tabernacle were ready to be erected. God instructed Moses to assemble the parts and to set up the furnishings on the first day of the month of the second year of their journey.
The entrance to the courtyard was in the east end. Just inside the court was the altar of burnt offering. The bronze laver for washing the priests’ hands and feet was beyond the altar and near the entrance of the tabernacle. As one entered the tabernacle, the table of showbread was to his right on the north side. The golden lampstand was directly across on the south side of the tabernacle. Near the entrance to the Most Holy place and centered near the end of the holy place was the altar of incense. A curtain separated the holy place from the Most Holy.
Inside the Most Holy place was the ark of the Testimony/Covenant which contained the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments. The mercy seat with the two cherubim was placed on top of the ark. No one but the high priest was allowed inside the Most Holy place and he was to go in only once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people.
Once the tabernacle was fully assembled with water in the laver; the showbread on its table and the candles lit, God’s glory filled the place showing His approval of all that had been accomplished. The cloud that had once hovered over Mt. Sinai was hovering over His new dwelling place—the tabernacle.