August 4 - The Tabernacle

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 4 - Exodus 40:1-38 - The Tabernacle

The previous five chapters detailed the preparations, designs and creation of the Tabernacle. Finally, in Chapter 40, we see the entire thing being put together. The Lord gave the instruction to Moses who carried them out in great detail.

This was an incredible gift to the Israelites. The Lord showed them how to build a tent, a tabernacle, so that He could travel with them as they traversed the desert on their route to the Promised Land. He was not intending to ever leave them alone again. He had promised Moses in Exodus 3 that He would be with them and this was his way of ensuring that they would have visible sign of His presence and a place that they could come to worship.

Hebrews 8:5 says "They (the high priests) serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven." Just as we saw in Genesis 1:26 that man is a shadow image of God, the Tabernacle was created to be a copy ... a shadow of the true Temple of God found in heaven.

We see portions of this in the Revelation of Jesus Christ to John. In Revelation 4, we see the throne room, and in Revelation 8:3-5, we see the golden altar before the throne which holds the incense. While the Tabernacle required a lamp to be burning at all times, to see in the darkened room, we find in Revelation 21:23 that God gives light and the Lamb is its lamp. In fact, by the time we get to the end of all things, the Temple is no longer needed because we stand before the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb and they are its temple (Rev. 21:22).

Moses finished the work of preparing the temple (Exodus 40:33). Everything had been set precisely in place. As close as a copy can come to being perfect, God had achieved His goal.

The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting (the Tabernacle) and the glory of the Lord filled it. God's glory was so great as He filled that tabernacle, that even Moses could not enter.

By this, the people knew that God was present among them. When the cloud lifted, they knew it was time to set out. If it didn't lift, they stayed put. During the day, they saw the Lord in the cloud and at night, they saw fire.

There were millions of people traveling with this Tabernacle and Exodus 40:38 tells us that the cloud and the fire were within eyesight "of all of the house of Israel during all their travels."

The Lord was present among them. He showed them His presence by residing in the Tabernacle, a copy of His temple in Heaven. He left the glory of heaven to travel with His children. Later, He would leave that same glory to live among us as a human in the form of Jesus Christ. There is nothing God will not do to ensure that He has a relationship with His children.