Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

Is the Tabernacle Boring?

Here in our reading, in Exodus 25, God declares His desire to dwell in the midst of His people and gives them instructions on how to build His sanctuary – the Tabernacle.

The dwelling of God in the midst of His people is a significant biblical theme.

Way back in the garden of Eden, we are told God walked through the garden in the “cool of the day”. Creation was the sanctuary in which God dwelt with Adam and Eve.

The tabernacle, like the garden of Eden, here in Exodus is where God dwells, and various details of the tabernacle suggest it is a mini-Eden. These parallels include the east-facing entrance guarded by cherubim, the tree of life (lampstand), and the tree of knowledge (the law).

The tabernacle is a tented, mobile palace, so to speak, for Israel’s divine King.

Solomon in 1 Kings 6 builds the Temple as a more permanent structure for God’s dwelling.  But when the people forsake God He forsakes the Temple and it is destroyed by the Babylonians.

Although rebuilt by King Herod, the Temple system in the days of Jesus was far from glorifying God. We read about this in the Gospels as Jesus speaks out against the Temple system and its leaders.

All seems lost… until…

We read in John 1:14 that with the coming of Jesus, God had come to dwell – to “tabernacle” among us.

We learn later in John that Jesus’ own body was the temple that would be destroyed and raised.

Thus, Jesus is the resurrected temple, He is the foundation and cornerstone of a new temple – us, the New Testament people of God.  We serve as the dwelling place for God through the Holy Spirit.

This same biblical theme is carried even further in Revelation 21-22, the new earth, the new Jerusalem.  God will be the temple, and we, His people, will have our dwelling in Him.

Thus God’s dwelling in the tabernacle was a step toward the restoration of paradise, (think Eden but better) which is to be completed in the new heaven and earth.

How cool is that?  Maybe reading about the Tabernacle is not so boring after all!

Until next time…keep reading…
Jim