“Tabernacles” Throughout the Scheme of Redemption
While the word “tabernacle” simply refers to a tent or dwelling place, the Bible espouses a sacredness to the term. In the Old Testament, the idea of a tabernacle often refers to the housing, dwelling, or glory of God. The story of the Bible begins with God “tabernacleing” with man in the Garden of Eden; God and man living together in perfect harmony. Sin enters the world and then a separation must be made. The theme of the Bible can be summarized in how God makes it again possible for His people to dwell with Him. In the Law of Moses, God allows a limited dwelling place for Himself among the people via the Tabernacle. When Solomon built the Temple, God’s glory “moved in” and dwelt with the people in a more permanent way. But when God’s people rebelled, they were carried off into captivity, the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, and God’s glory left the Temple. It did not return when the second temple was built by Zerubbabel but came back to dwell with man in the most unlikely way, in the form of a human. God “tabernacle” with man through Christ and would institute a new way in which God’s glory would dwell with all of mankind who believe. However, Christ — the man — died on the cross … so where does God’s glory dwell now? The dwelling of God does not reside in a temple made with hands, but a new temple, open for both Jew and Gentile. This new “tabernacle” is seen in the church, which in itself is a type of something greater (the antitype being Heaven). The only way to dwell in the presence of God is through His church, where God “tabernacles” with man today. Through Christ’s church we can all be a part of the Kingdom of God and eventually dwell with Him in Heaven where God will ultimately “tabernacle” with man for eternity.