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Tabernacle Studies Lesson 1

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“The Purpose of the Tabernacle.”

I. Introduction

Start out with a question-What do we know about the Tabernacle?
Ask the folks for feedback!
Invite and encourage discussion!
The Tabernacle provides one of the most interesting and profitable studies in all of the Old Testament.
It is easy to appreciate it’s importance when we consider that nearly twelve chapters in the Exodus are given to its description!
Think about this:
A little more than one chapter of Scripture is dedicated to the account of creation.
While 12 are allotted to the Tabernacle!
When you read the book of exodus, you will notice that the Lord cautioned Moses to make every detail exactly as He commanded.
It’s amazing the level of detail that God gave Moses!
I mean God always gives specific instructions to His people, but this is extreme!
Noah was told to build an Ark, God gave him some dimensions, told him one window and one door, the type of wood and how to caulk the ark, but that was about it!
But when it comes to the Tabernacle, the level of detail is quite granular.
This is because each part of the Tabernacle was to represent some truth precious to the heart of every believer.
The two main purposes of the Tabernacle are these:

1) The Tabernacle fulfilled God’s desire to dwell among His people

2) The Tabrnacle furnishes us with types and figures to illustrate God’s truth!

The Lord clearly stated his own purpose in Ex 25:8:
Exodus 25:8 KJV 1900
And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
So much grace!
That Almighty God was willing to dwell among a sinful people, and then devise a plan so that it would be possible!
He wanted to be with His people!
This is wonderful and this is important!
You willl find that God’s dwelling place among humanity takes on three aspects throughout the Word of God, the first being a type of the other two.

1) The Tabernacle and the Temple of Solomon.

The Temple of Solomon was largely built on the same plan as the Tabernacle and contained the same articles of furniture, but it was a permanent, instead of a temporary structure.
It also far exceeded the Tabernacle in glory and splendor!
But before the nation was established, while they were still marching through the wilderness, they couldn’t build anything permanent.
While Israel was on the march, it was necessary that they have a building that they could carry from place to place.
Ex 29:43-45 records God’s promise to dwell with the Israelites in the Tabernacle.
Later on, Solomon made a similar statement concering the Temple: “I have surely built thee and house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.” (1 Kings 8:13)
So that was the first dwelling place for God among Men, Physical enviorns dedicated and Holy.
But that’s not where it ends!

2. Jesus Christ!

God next dwelt among pople in the person of Jesus Christ for 33 and one half years.
The Word, which was God (John 1:1) was made flesh and dwelt or lived among us! (John 1:14)
The word dwelt in Greek literally means “tabernacled.”
The Human temple of Christ, then, was God’s Tabernacle, His dwelling place among the people!
You may be familiar with how Bishop Morgan says: “Jesus doesn’t have the last word, He is the Last Word!”
Look at Hebrews 8:2.
Indeed, He is the Word made flesh!
He was Heb 8:2!
Hebrews 8:2 KJV 1900
A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
God’s dwelling place was not longer a house of and gold, but a house of flesh and bones, the body of the Lord Jesus!
Hebrews 10:5 KJV 1900
Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
John 14:9–10 KJV 1900
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
2 Corinthians 5:19 KJV 1900
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Colossians 1:15 (KJV 1900)
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
So God dwelt among his people in three ways: First it was in the Tabernacle and Temple, Then His temple became flesh and bone!
You’re gonna like this next one:

3) The Church!

God next dwelt in the church through the Holy Spirit given to each of it’s members!
When the tabenracle of the Son ascended into Heaven, (Acts 1:9) HIs followers were lonely, for God no longer dwelt among them.
I can imagine the talks those early Christians had, remembering the glory of His earthly ministry, all morose and feeling low.
But then they remembered that The Lord promised before He went away: “I will not leave you alone, but will dwell in you!”
2 Corinthians 6:16 (KJV 1900)
...for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
God’s Spirit filled people are now His Tabernacles!
John 14:16–17 KJV 1900
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Romans 8:11 KJV 1900
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
2 Corinthians 5:1 KJV 1900
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
We said that God dwelt here in the person of Jesus Christ.
We know that his physical body was crucified, that He did give up the ghost and died!
We celebrate the ressurection of Jesus Christ in a very powerful and personal way!
Because Jesus did not stay dead!
He rose again!
The disciples saw him, recognized it was Him, and yet He was able to float through walls and stuff!
He was able to ascend into heaven!
That is because since He was resurrected, Jesus Christ has a glorified body!
And one day, God will dwell among people in the person of the Glorified Christ throughout the Millenium and all eternity.
Prove that! Sure thing:
Isaiah 32:1 KJV 1900
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, And princes shall rule in judgment.
Jeremiah 23:5 KJV 1900
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Zechariah 2:10–11 KJV 1900
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: For, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, And shall be my people: And I will dwell in the midst of thee, And thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee.
We see this also, all throughout Revelation and notice especially, Rev 21:3
Revelation 21:3 KJV 1900
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
I began by telling you that the Global purpose of Moses’ Tabernacle is two-fold:
First off, the Tabernacle fulfilled God’s desire to dwell among His people.
We have read how that He did that in the Tabernacle and Temple, in a Temple of flesh and bone and then now, in the church itself!
Now, let’s talk about hte second purpose:

The Tabernacle provides Types of Christ and the Church!

The Tabernacle was not only a type of the person of the Lord Jesus, but each piece of furniture is also an object lesson, describing some phase of Christ’s work of humanity!
The fact that the the Tabernacle and the Temple are both types of Jesus are clearly shown by a number of statements made in regard to the Temple in 1 Kings 8:27-30
1 Kings 8:27–30 KJV 1900
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day: That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place. And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.
Let’s unpack this verse and you’ll see exaclty what I mean:

It was a house where God chose to place His Name. (verse 29)

The body of Jesus Christ was the place where Jehovah chose to place his name.
We hear it in John 5:43, “ I am come in my Father’s name.”
That the Son of God was given God’s own name is made plain, because he got it through inheritence!
Hebrews 1:4 KJV 1900
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Always rememnber that the Temple of God, is the house where God chooses to place His Name!
And you will know it is the temple, because this is where He has invested His Name!
Now folks, we could run with that tonight, but I’m gonna wait for it!
Let me just tell you that we are going to have a great time over the next few weeks, studying the Tabernacle!
You will be able to take these studies and apply eternal truth to your life!

Men were to pray toward the Temple

So we read it in verse 30 of chapter 8. Read it again:
1 Kings 8:30 KJV 1900
And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.
This illustrates that if we wish to find God, we must pray toward His present dwelling place!
Sometimes you hear people pray and it’s “Father” this or “Almighty” that, and while that certainly works, I like to adress God by His personal Name, Jesus!
Abraham couldn’t do that! David couldn’t do that! God was not dwelling in a temple of flesh and bone back then!
But then something wonderful happened:
Luke 2:8–11 KJV 1900
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Ever since that first baby cry, there will never be a separation between Almighty God and Jesus Christ!
That’s exactly how Jesus could say: “When you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father!”
John 14:6 KJV 1900
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Okay, last point here, and we’ll call this a good start!

Although God dwelt in the Temple, His entire being was not contained by it.

Last point as we unpack 1 Kings 8:27
1 Kings 8:27 KJV 1900
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
Although the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus Christ (Col 2:9) meaning God’s character and personality, God is an omnipresent Soirit who fills the universe!


The Tabernacle is also a type of God’s plan of salvation.
The sacrifices in the courtyard showed that God could not dwell in the midst of a sinful people except on the basis of a blood atonement.
IN God’splan of salvation, no sinner can apporach God unless he truts in the blood of HIs savior alone as the atonement for his sin.
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