Exodus 25:8 – Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. (NIV)
Acts 7:44 – Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. (NIV)
Displayed in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is a full-size replica of the biblical tabernacle, designed from the details described in Exodus. I had the opportunity to visit this exhibit years ago when my Bible study group was studying the rich symbolism and significance of the Old Testament sacrificial system. According to the book of Hebrews, the tabernacle foreshadowed the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Seeing this amazing reproduction brought to life the events described in the Bible. Through this experience, I gained new appreciation for Christianity's rich heritage, rooted in Judaism.
It has been mentioned by critics of the Bible that certain heathen religions at the time of Moses practiced a similar form of worship to their gods. Yet, they overlooked a very important aspect. Only one tabernacle housed the Shekinah glory of God — a testimony to all peoples of His supernatural presence among Israel and those who served Him.
The wilderness tabernacle is just one link in the chain of God's dwellings. The temple of Solomon superseded the tabernacle, until the glory seen by the prophet Ezekiel departed on account of Israel's sin. Four hundred years after God spoke through Malachi, however, He once again tabernacled among us in human flesh. The apostle John testifies: "We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14 NIV)
As Christians, we are being built into a spiritual house in which God's Spirit dwells. Together, let us offer the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving from our hearts. Finally, one day, we will hear the voice John heard in Revelation 21:3 saying: "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God." (NIV) Until the end of our earthly journey, God has pitched His tent among us, and the glory of the Lord will remain in our midst until it is revealed fully throughout eternity.
Prayer: Father, we thank You for the tabernacle of testimony which bears witness to Your presence in this world. Permit us to enter Your gates with thanksgiving in our hearts, so that we may offer Your sacrifices of praise. May the glory of Your presence abide with us, and may we dwell in Your courts all the days of our lives, through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name, we pray. Amen.