The Discovery: Uncovering Tabernacle Secrets
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. I believe and hope my discovery will not only transform the worlds of religion, prophecy, and science, but 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 an engineer, until I was laid off a few years ago. But instead of pursuing another job in my profession, 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 eccentric and seemingly incongruent 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 pursuit and passion for Hebrew, I couldn’t completely stop thinking apart from my engineering training. 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.
Reconsidering Moses' Exodus Tabernacle
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 Timna, Israel, as shown below1) would feature a roof with almost no pitch for watershed.
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, as shown in the model below.2
Wondering how the tent roof layers related to one another, I scoured the internet – along with the original Exodus account – only to find a collection of inconsistent opinions. Eventually, I came to conclude that the tent did not feature a four-layer roof, as is typically assumed. But more importantly, my search led me to study the measurements of the sheets used for the tabernacle coverings. While the study of the textile design of a 3,000 year old tent may not sound remotely intriguing at first (or even relevant), I can assure you that there is more to the Exodus account than meets the eye. In fact, after scrutinizing every letter of the Hebrew Exodus text, it started to read like a good word puzzle or one of those clever story problems that you are assigned in math class. Actually, the Exodus text might even be likened unto an engineering specification written by a meticulous customer, who was perhaps trying to accomplish - and maybe even conceal - an unspoken agenda.
Engineering the Tabernacle - Back to the Drawing Board
Driven by a combination of frustration and curiosity, I sat down with the Hebrew Exodus account, put my "engineering hat" on, and followed the advice of my father. That is, I made an "FBD with TLC"; which, in his vocabulary, meant that I made a “Free Body Diagram with Tender Loving Care”. Just like I had done so many times in school and as an engineer, I drew a simplified 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 of the Exodus Hebrew text.
According to the Exodus account, the Israelites were to weave 11 sheets, each measuring 4 by 30 cubits (which is around 6-8 feet wide and 45-60 feet in length, depending upon assumed cubit conversion standards), complete with loops on opposite edges. Using the loops to attach the sheets, they were then told to join all sheets together into 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 (i.e., long edge-to-long edge), in order to make a single flat plane sheet measuring 42 x 30 cubits, as shown below.
However traditional this approach may be, this rendition unfortunately fails to comply with the exact Exodus specifications, which offers no provisions for unjoined edges, and describes all sheets as having loop joints on both edges. Nevertheless, by means of assumption, a rectangular assembly is created as end sheets are unjoined, at which point it becomes very difficult - if not impossible - to perceive anything but a rectangular building, such as the models shown above.
Basic Instructions and Bible Math
Although scholars have come to universally employ the same top-to-bottom (i.e., long edge-to-long edge) curtain joining approach as depicted above, there is another simple - and more practical - way to put the 11 sheets together. Alternatively, Tabernacle builders could join the 11 like-for-like sheets via the "end edges" lengthwise (i.e., short edge-to-short edge), thus creating an extremely narrow strip. Of course, at only 4 cubits wide, the narrow strip would hardly function as a practical roof for “covering” a tent. However, joining all sheets at both edges would ultimately yield a cylindrical assembly, appropriate for "covering" over a building's sides (just as described in Exodus), where the "covering" functions not as a roof, but as a wall instead!
Perhaps more importantly, the combined sheet dimensions and quantities point to a cylindrical sheet assembly. If joined together in a cylindrical arrangement, the sum of the 11 sheets measuring 30 cubits length, minus the end sheet overlap (folded over per Exodus 26:12), and minus the nominal one cubit overlap adjustment (Exodus 26:13), would be expressed as ([30 x 11] - [30 / 2] - 1). In other words, the final length (i.e., the circumference) of the cylindrical sheet assembly amounts to 314 cubits, which is a near perfect multiple of the mathematical constant known as PI or π. Consequentially, the same eleven sheets assembled to make a single high aspect ratio 30 x 42 rectangular plane (long edge joint), as shown in the illustration above, would also make a low aspect cylindrical assembly (short edge joint) measuring approximately 314 x 4, as shown below.
In later Exodus texts, these sheets are employed as walls for the temple courtyard. Not surprisingly, the dimensions for the courtyard are described as being exactly 100 cubits long (i.e., diameter), with the north and south portions each measuring 50 cubits “wide” (i.e., radius).
Two Options --> Two Shapes --> Two Applications
Given that a sheet has four edges, the Exodus Tabernacle text leaves the reader with pairs of possibilities. Two options are presented for joining a set of sheets together (i.e., long edge vs short edge joints). Two types of shapes are credible for the final sheet assembly, depending upon end sheet connections or lack thereof (i.e., long flat plane vs short cylinder). Two final applications for the sheet assembly are viable (i.e., roof or wall). Consequentially, sheet orientation assumptions and applications can drastically alter the design of the balance of the Exodus Tabernacle.
The Rosetta Stone - Decoding the Exodus Tabernacle
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) for Moses' Tabernacle plans. It was this discovery that led me to question every other popular interpretation and scholarly assumption about the rest of the rectangular Exodus Tabernacle - including all of its other pieces. After all, it is hardly good engineering practice to try to force a proverbial "square peg" into a "round hole" - yet that is exactly what theologians do when they give preference to their preconceived notions while translating the Hebrew. Therefore, without discovery of the 314 key, not a single English Bible translation in print makes any sense, and the reader is consequentally forced to defer to the Hebrew for accurate descriptions, answers, and explanations.
Clearly, the rediscovery of this "314 key" will forever change Bible interpretation - radically transforming how future scholars understand the texts. After all, it is not by accident that there is more Hebrew text describing the Tabernacle tent fabric than there is to describe the Ark of the Covenant! As the Hebrew Exodus indicates, the Tabernacle sheets are a "thoughtful work". Why? The sheets weren't made for fancy decor or for advancing esoteric mystical teachings; the sheets are as practical as they are clever. The fabrics used for the Tabernacle should be categorized as "engineered hardware". Ironically, this great secret to the tabernacle design was never ever meant to be covered; rather, the tabernacle's secret is the covering... hidden in plain sight!
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Note: Copyrighted Tabernacle sheet images above may be reproduced on web pages or in periodicals without permission, provided copyright and web reference are retained on image.
1. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stiftshuette_Modell_Timnapark.jpg#mediaviewer/File: Stiftshuette_Modell_Timnapark.jpg
3. The Rosetta Stone was engraved in 196 BC with Greek, Demotic, and Ancient Egyptian, making it possible to decipher Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs since its rediscovery in 1799. With the Rosetta Stone discovery, the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs were decoded as a phonetic usage, allowing modern scholars to understand other ancient Egyptian writings. Rosetta Stone photograph above © Hans Hillewaert.