Saturday, September 22, 2012
THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS: GOD’S DWELLING PLACE (Part 1) by LaTawnia Kintz
THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS:
GOD’S DWELLING PLACE (Part 1)
This particular teaching started from a four week adult Sunday school class I was blessed to teach. We were in the book of Exodus and I believed the Lord instructed me to tarry at the Tabernacle in the wilderness. There were many things He wanted to show me and the rest of the class.
The Tabernacle is of such great importance to God’s redemptive program that fifty chapters in the Bible are given to explaining its pattern, construction and service.
More than twenty times in Exodus we read “as the Lord commanded Moses.”
It is believed approximately 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 people were encamped around the Tabernacle. This included women, children and those who had left Egypt with them.
On author estimated the encampment around the Tabernacle was approximately twelve square miles.
The provisions needed to meet the needs of the people and animals were in excess of thirty box cars of food and 300 tanks of eater per day.
If they traveled fifty abreast, the procession would have stretched for forty miles.
The Tabernacle prefigured the church (Ephesians 2:21-22.) Today God doesn’t dwell in a physical structure but in a spiritual body called the church. The Tabernacle was holy and set apart for God’s service, likewise the church is holy and set apart for His service.
The Tabernacle also prefigured the individual Christian (I Corinthians 6:19) as a sanctuary where the Spirit of God dwells, believers are not at liberty to allow their bodies to be used outside of His designed purpose for Him.
The Tabernacle was a shadow pointing to the Savior who tabernacled in this world and opened the way for God to bring redemption to mankind.
Together, we are going to not just look at but study each aspect of the Tabernacle, the furnishings, the coverings, the offerings, the feasts, the garments for the priests, the boards, even the tent pegs. Every detail that surrounds this structure is rich with symbolism and we will learn how it all points sinful man to his blessed Redeemer.
I want to encourage you to read Exodus chapters 25-31; chapters 35-40; Hebrews chapters 9-10. This will help you during this study.
It is my prayer as we travel with Moses and the children of Israel we will see the glorious redemption plan for ourselves and all of mankind. I pray we will be drawn closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ and throughout all of this, He will be glorified.
Have you ever stopped and wondered why there were so many different names of the tabernacle in the Bible? Okay, maybe I am the only one who thinks about these things. However, I did look into it and this is what I found.
Just in Exodus there are seven different names for the tabernacle. I know what you are going to ask, “What difference does it make what it is called. Don’t all the names mean the same?” Actually, in Hebrew, each name has a different meaning and purpose. When we study them we will find some very interesting information. So let’s do that.
The first name is found in Exodus 25:8 “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”
A “sanctuary” means something that is set apart for a Holy God. In verse 9 of the same chapter in Exodus it is called “the tabernacle.” Now we see it becomes the dwelling place of God.
In Exodus 26:36 it is called a tent. (This is the third name.) Tents, as we all know are a temporary dwelling place. So here we see that the “tent” is a temporary dwelling place of God. This is a shadow of things to come. God may be dwelling here in the desert with His people but one day He will dwell in the hearts of redeemed man. Let that sink in for a moment. Oh how wonderful is our God and King.
“In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.” Exodus 27:21
This is the fourth name. In Hebrew “tabernacle of meeting” is o-hel mowadah, this is pretty self-explanatory but try sounding it out. O-hel is a tent, covering, dwelling, home, tabernacle. Mowadah is an assembly, congregation and the place of meeting. The tabernacle of meeting is the dwelling place where Aaron and his sons tend the lamp daily, morning and evening without fail. It is at the tabernacle where the congregation meets with God.
The fifth name is the tabernacle of the congregation. Let’s look at that verse together:
“This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord, where I will meet you and speak with you.” Exodus 29:42 (NASB)
Wow! The tabernacle of the congregation is not just a place for Moses it is a place for the whole congregation. It is here, at this tabernacle, where the Lord meets with and speaks with His people. Sounds like church to me! In the wilderness the children of Israel had Moses, the precursor to Jesus, Aaron, the priest/pastor and the congregation.
Isn’t that what happens when the saints of God get together? We have Jesus in the midst of us “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them,” (Matthew 18:20 NKJ); the pastor and the congregation. Just think about it.
Okay, on to the sixth and seventh names.
Number six is the tabernacle of testimony. We find this in Exodus 38:21. It was called this because it described the law that God gave to Moses. (Remember the ten commandments written on tablets of stone?) God told Moses to place them in the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was placed in the Holy of Holies and covered by the Mercy Seat.
The tabernacle of testimony was a constant reminder to the children of Israel that God is a Holy God. He gave them laws to abide by. Of course they would mess up, fall short, miss the mark, and continue to be a stiff-necked people; hence its’ resting place under the Mercy Seat. How merciful is our God. We will see this the more we go through this tabernacle.
The seventh name is tabernacle. We find this in Exodus 40:34. Now some versions of the bible translate it to tabernacle of meeting. So I don’t want to throw you off course. Here I want us to just look at the word tabernacle.
Tabernacle is the place of “physical” habitation of God among His people. We see this when we read the later half of the verse: “…and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” How incredibly awesome is that? The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
Most important though to remember, this tabernacle that Moses and the children of Israel built is but a physical reflection of what is in the heavenlies. I don’t know if you can get your spirit around this, but try. It is the heavenly dwelling of all of the redeemed. Jesus tells us in His Father’s house there are many mansions. (John 14:2)
One of my favorite verses is John 1:14. Here is the Greek translation for tabernacle, dwelt.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Moses and the Hebrew children built a physical tabernacle and saw the glory of the Lord fill it. John and the other disciples and all of the people of Israel and others got to touch and experience Jesus, the Word, as He dwelt (tabernacled) among them and they experienced the glory of the Lord. Today He dwells within us; we are the tabernacle, as a church and as individuals. The Holy Spirit dwells in each believer’s heart. The glory of the Lord is evident in changed lives sold out for Him. Praise the Lord!
I will close this segment by leaving you some more verses to look up on your own. Read them. Let the Word of God show you His glory in His written word.
2 Peter 1:14
May the Lord bless you and all those around you. May His name be glorified in all we do and say. Amen.