The Discovery: Uncovering the Secrets of the Tabernacle

 

Hello, my name is Andrew Hoy; I am the founder of Project Betzalel.  I’d like to share my recent discovery pertaining to the Exodus Tabernacle, which I believe will transform the worlds of religion, prophecy, and science, and hopefully your life as well!

Back in high school, I discovered that I had a reasonable aptitude for math and geometry.  So, like my father, I went on to school for mechanical engineering.  After graduating, I worked as a professional engineer, until I was laid off a few years ago.  But instead of pursuing another job with another company, I decided that I would go to Israel to study Hebrew – such that I might come to understand the Bible in its original language.  Many people, including my father – the engineering professor – wondered exactly what I might do with such incongruent and eccentric skill sets.  To be honest, as time progressed, I began to wonder the very same thing.  But that would all soon change.

Despite with my newfound passion for Hebrew, I couldn’t completely stop thinking apart from my training.  So, I retained an interest in "geeky" things, and continued to see the world through the eyes of an engineer.  Given my mixed background, I found myself intrigued by the account of the Egyptian Exodus, and I became fixated upon the instructions that Moses received on Mount Sinai – particularly those given to build a Tabernacle for Israel.

However, as I began to survey the traditional models of the Exodus tabernacle, some things just didn’t add up. For example, I wondered why the Tabernacle models (like the full size model built in Israel) would feature a roof with almost no pitch for watershed.  

Timna Tabernacle

Israel's Full Scale Rectangular Tabernacle Model in Timnah (1)

 

Furthermore, I started to wonder why people in such a hot climate would build a tent that was covered with four layers of material. Not only did I wonder this as an engineer, but I wondered this as an experienced camper, having never seen nor heard of a four-layer roof tent, which is exactly how most Tabernacle models are depicted.

Tabernacle Model - Four Layer Covering (2)

 

Hoping to find an answer to the flat-four-layer-tent-roof mystery, I scoured the internet – along with the original Exodus account. Eventually, I came to conclude that the tent did not feature a four-layer roof, as is almost universally assumed. But more importantly, my search led me to study the measurements of the sheets used for the tabernacle.

While studying the design of textiles used for a 3,000 year old tent may not sound intriguing (or relevant) at first, I can assure you that there is more to the account that meets the eye - perfect for anybody who likes a good puzzle.  In fact, after scrutinizing every letter of the Hebrew text, the text actually began to read like one of those clever story problems that you are assigned in math class, and perhaps more so like an engineering specification written by a meticulous customer, who was perhaps trying to accomplish - and maybe conceal - a hidden agenda.  And so, putting my "engineering hat" on, I sat down with the Hebrew Exodus account and followed the advice of my father.  That is, I made an "FBD with TLC"; or, in other words, I made a “Free Body Diagram with Tender Loving Care”. Just like I had done so many times in school, I drew a simplified engineering drawing of what was described.  Knowing I might be in for a long night, I sharpened my pencil, started drawing curtains, and with a watchful eye, kept a careful inventory of every single letter.

According to the Exodus account, the Israelites were to weave 11 sheets that measured 4 by 30 cubits each (which is around 6 x 45 feet, according to most conversion standards).  They were next told to join the sheets all together to form a single sheet, at which point they were also told to fold the 11th sheet back over upon itself.  It is traditionally assumed that these curtains are joined together in a top-to-bottom arrangement, in order to make a single flat plane sheet measuring 42 x 30 cubits, as shown below:

Although scholars have come to universally employ the same top-to-bottom curtain joining approach, there is another simple - and more accurate - way to put the 11 sheets together.  By joining the "end edges" lengthwise instead of in a "top-to-bottom" fashion, the Tabernacle builders would add ten sheets at 30 cubits to one sheet at 15 cubits, or (30 x 10) + (15 x 1) to create a long strip measuring at 315 cubits in length (nearly 500 feet) instead of a high aspect ratio 42 x 30 rectangular sheet.  

At only 4 cubits wide, this extremely narrow strip sounds as impractical for “covering” a tent as it sounds unorthodox; yet it is, nevertheless, exactly what the Exodus texts describe.  After all, the sheets were to be made "like for like", fabricated with loops for joints at each end - which indicates that they were likewise each to be connected "end to end". The Exodus texts offer no exceptions for open edges at the end of the assembled sheet, as the traditional and non-conforming 42 x 30 flat arrangements (as shown above) assume, resulting in four open edges.  

However, given the alternate arrangement, the final length of the assembled sheet set did not equal 315 cubits; a single Exodus verse describes how they were to make a one-cubit adjustment, given a small amount of joint overlap.  As a result, the final length (i.e., the circumference) of the set of assembled sheets was specified at to measure just slightly more than 314 cubits.  Instead, working to the "letter of the specification", or in this case, the "letter of the law", Exodus calls for a cylindrical sheet arrangement, as shown in the diagram below:

In later Exodus texts, these sheets are described as being used for the temple courtyard. Not surprisingly, the dimensions for the courtyard were described as being exactly 100 cubits long (i.e., diameter), with the north and south portions each measuring 50 cubits “wide” (i.e., radius).  

When I saw that the total start-to-end length of the sheet assembly was 314 cubits, I knew I had discovered something magnificent.  Arranged somewhat like a snow fence around the tabernacle, the outer courtyard was specified to be nothing less than a perfect circle!  This number – a product of PI, i.e., π x 100 – I came to recognize as the "Rosetta Stone" (3) to Moses' Tabernacle plans. It was this discovery that led me to question every over popular and "scholarly" assumption about the rest of the rectangular Exodus Tabernacle - and all of its articles.  After all, it is hardly good engineering practice to try to force a proverbial "square peg" into a "round hole".

Go to next page:  Round Houses

References:

1.  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stiftshuette_Modell_Timnapark.jpg#mediaviewer/File: Stiftshuette_Modell_Timnapark.jpg

2.  http://www.biblebigpicture.com/volume7.htm

3.  The Rosetta Stone was created in 196 BC with Greek, Demotic, and Ancient Egyptian, making it possible to decypher Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs since its rediscovery in 1799.  Rosetta Stone photograph above © Hans Hillewaert.     

 

 

 

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