The mercy seat, where the Lord will dwell and meet with Moses and the priests, is made with gold.
The table for the Bread of Presence is gold.
The lampstand is gold, pure gold. The church will later be represented by lampstands in the book of Revelation.
The altar for sacrificing is made of bronze.
Not that bronze isn’t nice, but it’s not gold.
The Scripture uses gold to talk about the best, the finest, and the purest. Bronze was worth less than gold, as the system of sacrificing was not the very best. God established it because the wages of sin is death. Blood was required. He wanted to save His people and give them life, so He made a way.
But even from the first, God knew it wasn’t the last. From before the first sacrifice on the altar, God knew it wasn’t the best. He knew the altar was only a temporary solution to man’s problem.
The altar of animal sacrifice was never the best way. God was providing for what they needed, but even from the instruction to make it out of bronze, it was clear this wasn’t the holiest way. This wasn’t the best.
God would later say He desired obedience, that it was better than sacrifice. The bronze altar wasn’t the pure heart of God. The presence, the holy place, these are God’s desires, even if they were just a shadow of what was coming.
But the altar of sacrifice wasn’t what God wanted. It was what we needed. He desired obedience so that the altar of sacrifice wasn’t even necessary. The bronze altar was for us, not for Him. He didn’t throw a pity party when they didn’t obey; He made a way for them to do what they needed to do. Because He loved them. Because He wanted to be with them. It’s the whole point of the tabernacle. He wanted to be with His beloved children.