Some might accuse me of having Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, because I am constantly evaluating the layout of the room I am in to see if it can be laid out in a more efficient way. I, on occasion, have even used a graph paper floor plan with pieces of paper cut to scale to represent furniture. I really don't think I am O.C.D., as much as I am lazy; I merely want to simplify my life. Then, again, it could be from spending so many years as a draftsman in the Navy. Regardless of the "diagnoses," it may explain why I am so fascinated with the book by Jeffrey L. Seif and Zola Levitt, The House That God Built. There is a diagram on page 22 which shows the layout of the Jewish Tabernacle including the position of the furnishings. What is immediately obvious is that the items were placed in the shape of a cross. What I find even more fascinating is that the layout matches the sequence of the life of Christ as presented in the Gospel of John.
Upon entering the Tabernacle, the first item was the Brazen Altar, where sin offerings were burned (Ex. 27:1). Jesus, our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7), was presented as such in John 1:29, which says, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
The next item was the Laver, a place of washing (Ex. 30:18). The priests had to wash themselves in preparation for their ministry to Israel. In John 1:31-34, John describes the baptism of Jesus, a step Jesus described as being a necessary step in His ministry (Matt. 3:13-17).
Next, on the right, was the Table of Shewbread which contained twelve pieces of unleavened bread (Ex. 25:30). Since the bread represented Christ, it was necessary that it be unleavened, as leaven represents sin throughout the Bible. In John 6:48-51, Jesus identifies Himself as the Bread of Life.
On the left side, across from the Table of Shewbread, stood the Lamp Stand having seven "candles" (Ex. 25:31-40). John 8:12 says, "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
The next item, which was back on the center line of the layout, was the Alter of Incense (Ex. 30:1-7). The incense symbolized the prayers of the people. Revelation 8:4 says, "And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand." John 17:1-26 is, in actuality, the Lord's prayer. This was the last piece of furniture in the holy place, which represented the world to whom Jesus offered Himself.
The next item, the Ark of the Covenant (or Mercy Seat - Ex. 25:17-22; Ark of the Testimony - Ex. 26:31-34), was in the Holy of Holies, which represented Heaven. It was approached once a year by the high priest on the Day of Atonement (Heb. 9:1-7). It was where God met with the High Priest (Ex. 25:22). Finally, in John 20:17, Jesus, our High Priest (Heb. 6:20), entered the presence of God when He ascended following His resurrection. Neat, huh!