What the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Tabernacle Really Symbolize

by Joshua Tilghman on February 25, 2013

4097561067 16cf6986ec 300x231 What the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Tabernacle Really SymbolizeIn our last post we established that the temples of the Bible were symbolic of the human body, not literal buildings. We also discussed that Christ is raised in our bodies. This post will continue to show how the scripture unfolds this process.

If you take the Bible literally and still think the tabernacle and temples were historical buildings, read the article entitled, The Esoteric Interpretation of Solomon’s Temple, and that might help set the record straight for you.

In the end, Jesus told us it all boils down to consciousness anyways. The kingdom has always been within us:)

The twelve tribes of Israel and our 12 cranial nerves

pillar cloud tabernacle 150x150 What the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Tabernacle Really SymbolizeIn the second chapter of the Biblical book called Numbers, God gives Moses instructions as to how the twelve tribes of Israel were to camp around the tabernacle.

Unbeknownst to most casual readers of the Bible, this is all symbolism for the brain. The twelve tribes of Israel represent the twelve cranial nerves. Edgar Cayce, a Christian who would receive esoteric knowledge while in a trance-induced state, mentioned this decades ago. He was dead on! We’ll get to the bottom of why in a moment. First take a metal snapshot of the picture below and remember it in the near future.


cranial nerves 300x291 What the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Tabernacle Really SymbolizeThe twelve cranial nerves regulate touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing, balance, movement, and much more. They are responsible for how you interact with and interpret your environment. In other words, they help define your reality.

As we’ll detail in a moment, the tabernacle is another symbol for the brain. Now imagine the scene we have thus far. The Israelites (cranial nerves) are camped around the tabernacle (brain) as commanded by God. The Israelites connect with and interact with God through a spiritual purification process inside the tabernacle, which is another way of showing how the twelve cranial nerves connect with and interact with the brain and rest of the body.

The tabernacle and the brain

Both the tabernacle and the brain are comprised of three main parts. The three portions of the brain are the Cerebrum, the Cerebellum, and the brain stem. The three components of the tabernacle are the outer court, the sanctuary (holy place), and the holy of holies (most holy place). Since we are discussing how the kingdom of God is within you, it is important to realize that your brain is very similar to the tabernacle in that it has an outer court, holy place, and most holy place as well. Sending kundalini (cosmic energy) into the holy of holies of our brain allows us to experience a cosmic union with God on higher conscious dimensions.

Purpose of the tabernacle and how directly it relates to your brain

bronze laver What the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Tabernacle Really SymbolizeThe outer court of the tabernacle had one main function. It was a place of purification so that the Israelite could then draw near to God by entering the sanctuary (holy place). There were two objects the Israelite had to approach for purification in the outer court: the brazen altar (for sacrifice) and the bronze laver (washing of hands and feet).

The same purification process must take place in your head! The thoughts that you have on a daily basis are mostly a product of all your experiences you’ve had interacting with the people, situations, and places from your environment. You have lived this life through your five senses, and in order to draw near to God, to the kingdom within, you must shift your conscious awareness from the outside world (the world of your five senses), to the world within you. During this process, the twelve cranial nerves must themselves go through a process of spiritual purification by kundalini.

How does one raise kundalini? There is more than one way, but for now we’ll stick with meditation and how this act is symbolized by the two objects of the outer court. The bronze laver held water. In scripture, washing with water (a type of baptism) represents meditation (more on baptism and meditation here). This is how we draw close to God, by going within, or meditating. The brazen altar, where sacrifices were offered, represents us laying down our thoughts and emotions—which happens automatically in meditation—to prepare ourselves to raise kundalini (the Holy Spirit). Remember, this all happens in the outer court before entering the holy place.

As God states:

“…so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9).

The scripture above is not saying that God is a separate being outside of you; it is pointing to the fact that in order to reach him you must access a higher plane of consciousness, beyond your egoic thoughts and emotions. Thus by sacrificing and washing, the people of the twelve tribes were purging themselves from the lower emotional-mental nature in order to “draw near” him.  So our thoughts must be refined, you might say, and then totally dropped (in higher meditation) in order to move deeper into the tabernacle.

Moving from the outer court and the holy place

So the outer court represented the physical world through the interpretation of our senses. But as we enter the sanctuary (the holy place), there is a drastic change. It is here that a true spiritual transformation takes place as a result of washing and sacrificing (in meditation) in the outer court.

Let’s briefly look at the three furniture pieces God commanded to be in the sanctuary.

The menorah, table of showbread, and the altar of incense

prinzessin   christmas    by cid vicious d4i2fuo 150x150 What the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Tabernacle Really SymbolizeThe menorah was a golden lamp stand that housed seven candles burning seven flames. The menorah is symbolic of the seven chakras. The burning flames atop the candles also symbolize kundalini energy that flows through those chakras. It is interesting to note that in the outer court, light came from the sun in the physical world. But the light in the sanctuary comes from the menorah, which represents inner light (consciousness).

Chakras help regulate conscious energy to all of our bodies. They resemble spinning wheels of light which act as gatekeepers for cosmic energy. When a person is spiritually ready and the chakras are open, kundalini has a chance to flow unobstructed to the brain where a conscious transformation takes place in the nervous system and endocrine glands.

Important side note:

If the chakras are not open, activating kundalini can be dangerous, because instead of freely flowing up the spinal column, it will hit blocked chakras, splinter out into different parts of the body and brain causing psychological, emotional, and physical damage. This is why it is important to spiritually prepare yourself through diet, exercise (yoga), breathing exercises, and meditation. In other words, you must become like the high priest totally dedicated to God.

Another important point to note about the menorah is the fact that the flames were kept burning with olive oil. The Israelites were expected to provide this oil. This oil also represents consciousness (another article explaining oil as consciousness).

The holy place also contained the table of showbread and the altar of incense. There were twelve loaves placed on the table of showbread which hardly needs to be explained—the cranial nerves surround the brain, but they also reside within it as they penetrate deeply into it and the body. In the sanctuary of the tabernacle, the cranial nerves have been purged spiritually through the acts of meditation.

The purpose for the altar of incense was to continually burn a mixture of expensive spices to the Lord. According to Gaskell’s Dictionary of Scripture and Myth, burning incense symbolizes “…the purification of the soul by the functioning of fire [spirit], which transmutes the lower emotions into the higher. The perfume symbolizes the Love and Wisdom called forth on the higher planes…”

It is interesting that Gaskell mentions emotions here. I liken the sanctuary of the tabernacle to the cerebellum, the hippocampus and amygdale area of the brain, where memory— what makes individuality possible—and emotions are processed and experienced.

Holy of Holies

The holy of holies is the most sacred place of the tabernacle. It is where the shekinah (glory of God) resides. Here the mental-emotional nature of the man is completely purged, and the cosmic union takes place. As Jesus stated:

“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, are in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21).

This oneness Jesus speaks of can also be considered the mystical marriage of the divine and masculine energies through kundalini rising all the way to the crown chakra at the top of the head and then proceeding back down. Along the way kundalini stimulates the pineal and pituitary glands which contain the masculine and feminine energies needed to achieve this mystical marriage or union.

eye of horus What the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Tabernacle Really SymbolizeThe Egyptians referred to this area of the brain as the Eye of Horus. Jesus also spoke of the eye when he said:

“…If therefore your eye be single, then your whole body shall be full of light.” (Matt. 6:28).

I believe the Eye of Horus and Jesus’ single eye refers collectively to hypothalamus, third ventricle, and the pineal and pituitary glands near the center of your brain. It is interesting to note how these areas work to influence the entire nervous and endocrine system; the hypothalamus and pituitary gland especially work together to link these two. When kundalini rises through these areas, the nervous and endocrine systems are greatly affected, causing superior functionality and altered states of higher consciousness and awareness.

When Jesus refers to the single eye being full of light, he means the opening of the Third Eye, which is also known as the “eye of the soul.” This eye of soul is a gateway to expanded consciousness. It is a link to the higher self and divine intuition. It is also where spirit and matter unite in the divine marriage.

The importance of male and female energies and God

Existence happens because of negative and positive forces. Out of these two opposing forces creation unfolds. We would do well to note here that this is God’s image, both male and female, from which we are made (Genesis 1:27). May I suggest to you that you birth an elohim in yourself as you combine and balance these forces within.

Closing thoughts

The Ark of the Covenant was the only furniture piece in the holy of holies. To learn more about how this also represents the brain, see my article entitled, The True Meaning of the Ark of the Covenant. I will not break this down further here since that article already does that.

The other important item was the veil, or giant curtain that separated the holy place from the holy of holies. You might remember that in the New Testament the veil in the temple ripped when Christ died on the cross. Birthing the Christ in our body temples represents the ripping of that veil. We’ll pick up what all this really means in future posts of this series. You can get to the next one with this link here.


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