“They are to make me a sanctuary, so that I may live among them.”
The primary purpose of the tabernacle was to establish a clean and holy place where the Lord could dwell among His people.
And the primary feature of the tabernacle is that it was placed right smack dab in the center of the encampment of Israel.
God’s presence wasn’t housed away in some distant undisclosed secret location like a ruthless dictator who places himself far from and high above the people.
The ultimate symbol of God’s presence was in a location where the people would be constantly reminded to stay away from other gods and to serve ONLY the Lord.
The Wilderness Tabernacle goes by a number of different names in the Bible, each focusing on a different aspect of the tabernacle’s essence.
Here are some of the other different names the tabernacle went under in Hebrew:
Normally translated into “tabernacle”. This literally means a dwelling place, obviously in this case referring to the dwelling place of the Lord.
Normally translated into “sanctuary”. Literally, this means a sacred and holy place.
Normally translated into “tent”. This word refers to the simple Bedouin style cloth tent that was in common use during those times.
Normally translated into the “tabernacle of the congregation”. This means literally the Tent of the Appointed Times.
MISHKAN HA EDUTH
Normally translated into the “tabernacle of testimony”. This refers to the place where the 10 Words (commandments) of God were housed.
All of these words are referring to the exact same thing: that portable dwelling place for the Lord that the Israelites used beginning at Sinai and throughout their sojourn in the wilderness.
But of course, the terms we are most familiar with are the “Wilderness Tabernacle” or the “Tent of Moses”.
About 400 years later, King Solomon will have the first temple built.
The temple was simply a permanent, non-moveable version of the Tabernacle.
Now here’s an interesting question.
If the temple of Solomon replaced the wilderness tabernacle, what has replaced Solomon’s temple?
In one sense, I would say Believers today who have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within them are the Wilderness Tabernacle or the Temple today.
Now the reason I say “in one sense” is because we all know that coming up soon in the next stage of human history, the third and final temple is on God’s holy timetable to be erected soon.
One thing I want you to notice is the interesting progression of how God’s presence dwelt with His people.
Before Israel inherited the Promised Land, they had to carry the tabernacle with them wherever they went if they wanted God’s presence to be with them.
Then when Israel settled in the land, if you wanted to come to God, you had to go to the temple in Jerusalem.
But now, starting with Yeshua, we have in a sense become the Lord’s Temple.
We have become His earthly dwelling place.
This means when we take His Word to the world, He goes with us.
And this is also why Paul warns us NOT to put these earthly vessels of ours in union with something unholy.
CONNECTING THESE TEACHINGS TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
Or don’t you know that your body is
a temple for the Ruach HaKodesh
who lives inside you,
whom you received from God?
1 Corinthians 6:19
Don’t you know that your bodies are parts of the Messiah?
So, am I to take parts of the Messiah
and make them parts of a prostitute?
-1 Corinthians 6:15