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Bible Self-Study Module No. 4

"The Bible has been given to the Western World by the Recording Angels, who give to each and all exactly what they need for their spiritual development."
—Max Heindel.

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness

  References: Genesis 6, 7, 8, 9; Exodus 3-14, 25-40; Hebrews 9.

We read in the Bible the story of how Noah and a remnant of his people with him were saved from the flood and formed the nucleus of the humanity of the Rainbow Age in which we now live. It is also stated that Moses led his people out of Egypt, the land of the Bull, Taurus, through waters which engulfed their enemies and set them free as a chosen people to worship the Lamb, Aries, into which sign the Sun had then entered by precession of the equinoxes. These two narratives relate to one and the same incident, namely, the emergence of infant humanity from the doomed continent of Atlantis* into the present age of alternating cycles where summer and winter, day and night, ebb and flow, follow each other. As humanity had then just become endowed with mind,** they began to realize the loss of the spiritual sight which they had hitherto possessed, and they developed a yearning for the spirit world and their divine guides which remains to this day, for humanity has never ceased to mourn their loss. Therefore, the ancient Atlantean Mystery Temple, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, was given to them that they might meet the Lord when they had qualified themselves by service and subjugation of the lower nature by the Higher Self. Being designed by Jehovah it was the embodiment of great cosmic truths hidden by a veil of symbolism which spoke to the inner or Higher Self.

   In the first place it is worthy of notice that this divinely designed Tabernacle was given to a chosen people, who were to build it from freewill offerings given out of the fullness of their hearts. Herein is a particular lesson, for the divine pattern of the path of progress is never given to anyone who has not first made a covenant with God that he will serve Him and is willing to offer up his heart's blood in a life of service without self-seeking. The term "Mason" is derived from phree messen, which is an Egyptian term meaning "Children of Light." In the parlance of Masonry, God is spoken of as the Grand Architect. Arche is a Greek word which means "primordial substance." It is said that Joseph, the father of Jesus, was a "carpenter," but the Greek word is tekton—"builder." It is also said that Jesus was a tekton, a "builder." Thus every true mystic Freemason is a child of light, a builder, endeavoring to build the mystic temple according to the divine pattern given him by our Father in Heaven. To this end he dedicates his whole heart, soul, and mind. It is, or should be, his aspiration to be "the greatest in the kingdom of God," and therefore he must be the servant of all.

   The next point which calls for notice is the location of the temple with respect to the cardinal points, and we find that it was laid directly east and west. Thus we see that the path of spiritual progress is the same as the star of empire; it travels from east to west. The aspirant entered at the eastern gate and pursued the path by way of the Altar of Burnt Offerings, the Brazen Laver, and the Holy Place to the westernmost part of the Tabernacle where the Ark, the greatest symbol of all, was located in the Holy of Holies. As the wise men of the East followed the Christ star westward to Bethlehem, so does the spiritual center of the civilized world shift farther and farther westward; until today the crest of the spiritual wave which started in China on the western shores of the Pacific has now reached the eastern shores of the same ocean.

   The ambulant nature of this Tabernacle in the Wilderness is therefore an excellent symbolical representation of the fact that man is migratory in his nature, an eternal pilgrim, ever passing from the shores of time to eternity and back again.

   The Court of the Tabernacle was an enclosure which surrounded the Tabernacle. Its length was twice its width, and the gate was at the east end. This gate was enclosed by a curtain of blue, scarlet, and purple fine twined linen, and these colors show us at once the status of this Tabernacle in the Wilderness. We are taught in the sublime gospel of John that "God is Light," and we know that this light, which is God, is refracted into three primary colors by the atmosphere surrounding our earth, viz., blue, yellow, and red. It is a fact well known to every esotericist that the ray of the Father is blue, while that of the Son is yellow, and the color of the Holy Spirit's ray is red. Only the strongest and most spiritual ray can hope to penetrate the seat of consciousness of the life wave embodied in our mineral kingdom, and therefore we find about the mountain ranges the blue ray of the Father reflected back from the barren hillsides and hanging as a haze over canyons and gulches. The yellow ray of the Son mixed with the blue of the Father gives life and vitality to the plant world, which therefore reflects back a green color, for it is incapable of keeping the ray within. But in the animal kingdom, to which unregenerate man belongs anatomically, the three rays are absorbed, and that of the Holy Spirit gives the red color to his flesh and blood. The mixture of the blue and red is evident in the purple blood, poisoned because sinful. But the yellow is never evident until it manifests as a soul body,*** the golden "wedding garment" of the mystic Bride of the Mystic Christ evolved from within. (Matt. 22:11-12; I Cor. 15:44.)

   Thus the colors on the veils of the Temple, both at the gate and at the entrance of the Tabernacle, showed that this structure was designed for a period previous to the time of Christ, for it had only the blue and the scarlet colors of the Father and the Holy Spirit together with their mixture, purple. But white is the synthesis of all colors, and therefore the yellow Christ ray was hidden in that part of the veil until in the fullness of time Christ should appear to emancipate us from the ordinances that bind, and initiate us into the full liberty of Sons of God, Sons of Light, Children of Light, Phree Messen or Mystic Masons.

   The Brazen Altar was placed just inside the eastern gate, and it was used for the sacrifice of animals during the temple service. The idea of using bulls and goats as sacrifices seems barbaric to the modern mind and we cannot realize that they could ever have had any efficacy in that respect. The Bible does indeed bear out this view of the matter, for we are told repeatedly that God desires not sacrifice but a broken spirit and a contrite heart, and that He has no pleasure in sacrifices of blood. In view of this fact it seems strange that sacrifices should ever have been commanded. But we must realize that no religion can elevate those whom it is designed to help if its teachings are too far about their intellectual or moral level. To appeal to a barbarian, religion must have certain barbaric traits. A religion of love could not have appealed to those people, therefore they were given a law which demanded "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." There is not in the Old Testament any mention whatever of immortality, for these people could not have understood a heaven nor aspired to it. But they loved material possessions, and therefore they were told that if they did right they and their seed should dwell in the land forever, and their cattle should be multiplied, etc.

   The Altar was made of brass, a metal not found in nature, but made by man from copper and zinc. Thus it is symbolically shown that sin was not originally contemplated in our scheme of evolution and is an anomaly in nature as well as in its consequences, pain and death, symbolized by the sacrificial victims. But while the Altar itself was made from metals artificially compounded, the fire which burned thereon unceasingly was of divine origin, and it was kept alive from year to year with the most jealous care. No other fire was ever used, and we may note with profit that when two presumptuous and rebellious priests dared to disregard this command and use strange fire, they met with an awful retribution and instant death. (Leviticus 10:1-2) When we have once taken the oath of allegiance to the mystic Master, the Higher Self, it is extremely dangerous to disregard the precepts then given.

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   We are told by the apostle Paul that the Tabernacle in the Wilderness was a shadow of greater things to come. It may therefore be of interest and profit to see what is the meaning of this Brazen Altar, with its sacrifices and burning flesh, to the candidate who comes to the Temple in modern times. In order that we may understand this mystery, we must first grasp the one great and absolutely essential idea which underlies all true mysticism, viz., that these things are within and not without. It is not the Christ without that saves but the Christ within. We must build the Tabernacle within our own hearts and consciousness. We must live through, as an actual inner experience, the whole ritual of the service there. We must become both the altar of sacrifice and the sacrificial animal lying upon it. We must become both the priest that slays the animal and the animal that is slain. Later we must learn to identify ourselves with the mystic Laver, and we must learn to wash therein in spirit. Then we must enter behind the first veil, minister in the East Room, and so on through the whole Temple service until we become the greatest of all these ancient symbols, the Shekinah Glory, or it will avail us nothing. In short, before the symbol of the Tabernacle can really help us, we must transfer it from the wilderness of space to a home in our hearts so that when we have become everything that that symbol is, we shall also have become that which it stands for spiritually.


Notes:

  * Esoteric science teaches that Atlantis was a continent which existed between Europe and America, where the Atlantic Ocean now lies. As the heavy fogs of Atlantis condensed more and more, the increased quantity of water gradually inundated that continent, destroying the greater part of the population and the evidences of their civilization. Great numbers were driven from the doomed continent by the floods, and wandered across Europe.

  ** Esoteric science teaches that man is a complex being who possesses:

  1. A Dense Body, which is the visible instrument he uses here in this visible world to fetch and carry; the body we ordinarily think of as the whole man.

  2. A Vital Body, which is made of ether and pervades the visible body as ether permeates all other forms, except that human beings specialize a greater amount of the universal ether than other forms. That ethereal body is our instrument for specializing the vital energy of the Sun.

  3. A Desire Body, through which we express our emotional nature. This finer vehicle pervades both the vital and dense bodies. It is seen by clairvoyant vision to extend about sixteen inches outside the visible body, which is located in the center of this ovoid cloud as the yolk is in the center of an egg.

  4. The Mind, which is a mirror, reflecting the outer world and enabling the Ego to transmit its commands as thought and word, also compels action. The Ego is the threefold spirit which uses these vehicles to gather experience in the school of life.

  The mind was given to man in the Atlantean Epoch, and while reason benefited him in many ways, it shut from his vision the soul of things which had previously spoken to him, and the gaining of the intellect which is now man's most precious possession was at first but sadly contemplated by the Atlantean, who mourned the loss of spiritual sight and power which marked the acquisition of mind.

  *** The two higher ethers of the vital body, the light and reflecting ethers. These are attracted by living a life of "loving, self-forgetting service to others."


Questions:

  [You are welcome to e-mail your answers and/or comments to us. Please be sure to include the course name and Independent Study Module number in your e-mail to us. Or, you are also welcome to use the answer form below. (Java required)]

1. To what do the stories of Noah and Moses refer?
2. Why was the Tabernacle in the Wilderness given to humanity upon their emergence from Atlantis?
3. How does the Tabernacle symbolize the path of spiritual progress?
4. Of what is the ambulant nature of the Tabernacle symbolical?
5. What is the significance of the colors of the curtain in the Court of the Tabernacle?
6. Describe the Brazen Altar.
7. What does it signify to the modern candidate for initiation?


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