The LORD God is pursuing
an intimate love relationship with you. He will not
end that pursuit until He has accomplished His
eternal purpose in your life.
From Genesis to
Revelation, we can see God progressively moving
closer and closer to the heart of man.
We hear God walking with
Adam in the late afternoon in Genesis. He also
walked with Enoch, talked to Abraham, communed with
Moses and the prophets.
GOD AMONG MEN
It is most interesting
that more space is devoted to the account of the
Tabernacle in the Scriptures than any other single
object. Exodus chapters 25-40 give details of the
plans and construction of the Tabernacle or Tent of
Meeting. Moreover, the New Testament makes
figurative reference to the Tabernacle and its
furnishings, and the Epistle to the Hebrews cannot
be understood without a knowledge of the books of
Exodus and Leviticus. Hebrews is the best commentary
In the Tabernacle, we
find God dwelling among His chosen people. "Let them
construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among
them. According to all that I am going to show you,
as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of
all its furniture, just so you shall construct it"
(Exodus 25:8-9). The Tabernacle symbolized the
dwelling place of God in the midst of His people.
"There I will meet with you; and from above the
mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are
upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you
about all that I will give you in commandment for
the sons of Israel" (v. 25). Saphir says, "The
Tabernacle was a symbol of God's dwelling. There is
a Sanctuary, wherein is the especial residence and
manifestation of the glorious presence of God. . .
Almost all expressions which are employed in
describing the significance of the Tabernacle are
also used in reference to Heaven."
The Tabernacle was a
temporary place of convenience where God met with
His chosen people. It was simply a tent of meeting.
It was for use in the wilderness wandering of His
people. The thing of importance is that it was God's
dwelling place. It was there in the midst of His
people that He took up abode and met with them
between the Cherubim, on the mercy-seat. In the holy
of holies God manifested His presence by means of
the Shekinah glory, and His grace on the mercy seat
or place of propitiation.
The holy of holies found
its anti-typical fulfilment in the person of the
Holy One of God, His Son, Jesus Christ. The glory of
God was seen on the Mount of Transfiguration. The
apostles said, "We beheld His glory." Christ is the
meeting place between a holy God and sinful man.
Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the
life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me"
(John 14:6). The apostle Peter concluded a message
saying, "And there is salvation is no one else; for
there is no other name under heaven that has been
given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts
4:12). There is but one Mediator between God and
men--the God-Man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). He
spanned the gulf between the holy Deity and sinful
humanity because He was both God and Man. "God was
in Christ reconciling a world unto Himself" (2
Corinthians 5:19). "In Him dwells all the fullness
of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9).
The Tabernacle was the
way in which a sinner might approach a holy God. It
reminded men that sin separated him from God. The
Tabernacle was God's dwelling place among men. It
was a place of grace for the sinner. The sinner in
his sins could not go to heaven, so God in the
person of His Son came from heaven to earth, and
died the Just for the unjust "that He might bring us
to God" (1 Pet. 3:18). The Tabernacle was the
evidence that God had graciously brought the
redeemed people into a place of nearness to Himself.
We who were a far off from Him because of our sin
have been made night by the precious blood of Christ
The Tabernacle moved
about the wilderness with the people. Yahweh became
a pilgrim with His pilgrim people. He occupied a
tent with tent dwellers. The tent of meeting
symbolized God in the midst of His people dwelling
among them leading, guiding, providing and
protecting. Moses tells us "the cloud covered the
tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled
the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent
of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and
the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle" (Exodus
This Tabernacle in the
wilderness was a copy of the real one in heaven.
Seven times we are told that Moses was commanded to
make the Sanctuary after the pattern of it which was
shown him in the Mountain (Ex. 25:9, 40; 26:30;
27:8; Num. 8:4; Acts 7:44; Heb. 8:5). Nothing was
left to chance or human ingenuity. The construction
was according to the Divine model God gave to Moses.
"Therefore it was
necessary for the copies of the things in the
heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly
things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
For Christ did not enter a holy place made with
hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven
itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the
high priest enters the holy place year by year with
blood that is not his own" (Hebrews 9:23-25).
In Solomon's Temple God
came and dwelt in a permanent dwelling place with
His people in the Promised Land.
"It happened that when
the priests came from the holy place, the cloud
filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests
could not stand to minister because of the cloud,
for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the
Lord" (1 Kings 8:11-12).
However, when the people
of Israel turned to idols, the LORD destroyed
Solomon's Temple and gave His people over to
Babylonian captivity for seventy years. King
Nebuchadnezzar was only an instrument in the hands
The Temple was rebuilt
under Zerubbabel (Ezra 3:12; 6:15, 16). It seems
that God did not dwell in Herod's Temple that
replaced Zerubbabel's. There was no Ark of the
Covenant and Shekinah glory in it. By Jesus' day,
the Temple had become a den of thieves. The Roman
General Titus in A. D. 70 destroyed Herod's Temple.
THE KEY TO THE
TABERNACLE IS CHRIST.
The key to our
understanding of the Tabernacle is Christ. It was a
symbol, or picture and prophecy of the man in whom
God would become incarnate and dwell with His
people. He will be the final and eternal dwelling
place (Hebrews 2:14-18). Hebrews contrast the
pattern in heaven and the copy in Jerusalem. In
summary the author of Hebrews said, "the main point
in what has been said is this: we have such a high
priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of
the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister
in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which
the Lord pitched, not man" (Hebrews 8:1-2).
Moreover, God came even
nearer to man in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.
He is God with us. The apostle John describes God
coming near to His people in these words. "The Word
became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His
glory, glory as of the only begotten from the
Father, full of grace and truth. . . No one has seen
God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the
bosom of the Father, He has explained Him" (John
1:14, 18). Paul wrote, "For in Him all the fullness
of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9).
Jesus began His ministry
by cleansing Herod's Temple and the religious
leaders wanted an explanation. Jesus answered them,
"Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise
it up." The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years
to build this temple, and will You raise it up in
three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of
His body" (John 2:19-21). The LORD God tabernacled
Himself in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.
The purpose of the
incarnation is stated by the apostle Paul, "God was
in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself" (2
Corinthians 5:19). The Tabernacle was the
manifestation of God in order to bring Israel into
communion with Himself. As Saphir says, "In the
Tabernacle man's fellowship with God was symbolized
through manifold mediations, sacrifices, offerings.
But in Jesus we have the perfect and eternal
The Tabernacle was the
place where sacrifice was made. Outside the court
stood the brazen altar where the animals were
brought, and on which they were slain. There the
blood was shed and atonement was made for sin.
Moreover, Jesus Christ fulfilled in His very own
person the typical significance of this brazen
altar. The body in which He tabernacled on earth was
nailed to the Cross outside the city walls. The
Cross was the altar upon which God's Lamb was slain,
where His precious blood was shed, and where
complete atonement was made for our sin.
Furthermore, Jesus Christ
rose from the dead to live within you. Probably the
greatest and most thrilling mystery revealed to Paul
was this marvelous truth. It is "the mystery which
has been hidden from the past ages and generations,
but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom
God willed to make known what is the riches of the
glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is
Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians
1:26-27). Imagine that. A Jewish God taking up
residence in a bunch of Gentiles! (Cf. Eph. 2:21-22;
1 John 4:4).
The Tabernacle in the
Wilderness was the place where the priestly family
was fed (Lev. 6:16-26). Christ is the food for all
of the priesthood of believers today (1 Pet. 2:5).
He is the Bread of Life and we must learn to feast
upon Him moment by moment if we are to be effective
priests in His Kingdom. He is the one upon our soul
YOU ARE THE TEMPLE OF
You are the Temple of
God! "Do you not know that you are a temple of God
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man
destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him,
for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you
are" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). From the moment you
put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as your
personal Savior He came by His Holy Spirit to dwell
in your heart. He now wants to settle down and make
Himself at home (Ephesians 3:14-19). The apostle
Paul uses a word for "dwell" meaning to settle down
in a dwelling, to dwell firmly in a place. The idea
is to live in a home. To settle down and feel
completely at home as a permanent residence. Where
does He have His residence? It is "through His
Spirit in the inner man" (v. 16). It is that part of
the believer that has experienced spiritual renewal
by the Spirit of God. This took place at the new
birth when the Holy Spirit regenerated us. Our
bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit where
Christ dwells because Christ purchased us at the
price of His own blood (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). "Do
you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy
Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and
that you are not your own? For you have been bought
with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."
All of these earthly
tabernacles and temples were short lived in time.
All were destroyed. Even these old frail bodies will
turn to dust one day. However, there is an eternal
Temple that shall not be corrupted by death. It is
eternal, "a house not made with hands, eternal in
the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1).
The death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ sets us free from the
power of sin and death. The only condition for us to
have that eternal dwelling place for Him is to
believe on Christ as our Savior.
We are part of something
even greater in God's eternal plan of redemption.
Ephesians 2:19-22 tells us God is building His
Temple and it involves you, me, and every believer
down through the history of the church. "So then you
are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are
fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's
household, having been built on the foundation of
the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself
being the corner stone, in whom the whole building,
being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple
in the Lord, in whom you also are being built
together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." The
New Testament church is a living, growing organism
and new believers are included in God's Temple (cf.
1 Peter 2:5). Both Jewish and Gentile believers are
being "joined together" into this "holy temple."
Here the word for temple is naos which always refers
to the sanctuary or holy of holies as is true in
John 2; 1 Cor. 3; 6. Paul is not referring to the
entire Temple area with its open courts (hieron).
God chooses and places
individual believers into His Temple. He builds it.
What is His purpose? It is to "become a dwelling in
which God lives by His Spirit."
God came down and met
with His people in the Shekinah glory over the
Temple. Now He dwells in His new temple which is
constructed of spiritually living regenerated
believers in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit indwells
each individual believer who is His temple (John
14:17; Romans 5:5; 8:9, 11). His corporate dwelling
place is composed of all believers both Jewish and
When is the last time we
read of the Tabernacle in the Bible? Revelation 21:3
is a picture of the new heaven, new hearth and the
New Jerusalem. The apostle John says he heard a loud
voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the
tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell
among them, and they shall be His people, and God
Himself will be among them."
He goes on to tell us, "I
saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty
and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no
need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for
the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is
the Lamb" (Revelation 21:22-23).
Are you ready for that
great and wonderful day when He shall come with
Title: Exodus 25-40
God Dwelling with Man
Christ in the Old Testament