“But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.” Numbers 7:9 (KJV)
The Tabernacle has been completed and set up. Offerings of carts, wagons, has been brought for the carrying of some of the weightier thing so the Tabernacle for moving. No wagon is given to the sons of Kohath. They must bear the holy thing upon their shoulders.
The altar of burnt offering, though not mentioned as being carried the bronze laver, the table of showbread, the lampstand (Menorah), the golden altar of incense, the Ark of the covenant with the mercy seat; all to be carried with any utensils by the sons of Kohath; upon their shoulders (Numbers 4:1-20). They were not to touch the holy things, “Lest they die”.
How did they carry them without touching them? A description of the process is given in verse 12 of Numbers 4. Each article was to be covered with a “cloth of blue” then “with a covering of badgers’ skins”.
These holy articles had already been built with rings in the sides for poles to be inserted, or as in the case of the Ark the poles were to remain (Exodus 25:14-15).
What does all this have to do with Christians of today; or even the world today? I pray I can answer that. The whole of the Tabernacle is a picture or pattern given to Moses of the Presence of God in heaven. It is a picture for us of God’s indwelling presence. God desires to be in the midst of His people. It ultimately points to Christ Jesus.
The name “Immanuel” means God with us. Jesus Christ is Immanuel. God came in the person of His Son to die for our sins; to reconcile fallen, sinful man unto Himself, that we might be one with Him (John 17:21).
Of this verse Matthew Henry wrote,
“Observe, No sooner is the tabernacle fully set up than this provision is made for the removal of it. Note, Even when we are but just settled in the world, and think we are beginning to take root, we must be preparing for changes and removes, especially for the great change. While we are here in this world, every thing must be accommodated to a militant and movable state. When the tabernacle was framing, the princes were very generous in their offerings, for then they brought precious stones, and stones to be set (Exo_35:27), yet now they bring more presents. Note, Those that have done good should study to abound therein yet more and more, and not be weary of well-doing.”
from Matthew Henry Commentary
These were blessed shoulders. Sons of Kohath – allied with God to bear His holiness on their shoulders.