Exodus 25–28: A Sanctuary & A Dwelling Place

Read the Bible in 2023 ◊ Week 20: Monday

“And let them make a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall make it.”
Exodus 25:8–9 LSB

Monday’s Bible reading is Exodus 25–28. Before you begin reading, pray and ask God to teach you from His Word.

In Exodus 25–27, God gives instructions on constructing the tabernacle with specific instructions on measurements and materials. In Exodus 28, He begins to describe how to make the garments for the priests. It’s fascinating reading, and it truly must have been a magnificent sight. You can find numerous photos online, and its structure has been built in several places, including the Timna Park in Israel.

John Davis writes, “There are five different names or titles given to the tabernacle in the Pentateuch.”1

Sanctuary (Exodus 25:8): a place which is sacred.

Tabernacle (Exodus 25:9): meaning to “settle down, abide, or dwell.” This term, of course speaks of one of the functions of the Tabernacle: namely to be the residing place for God among His people.

Tent (Exodus 26:36): a temporary or collapsible dwelling.

Tent of Meeting (Exodus 29:42): “to meet at an appointed place.”

Tabernacle of the testimony (Exodus 38:21): from the law of the two tables placed in the ark (cf. Exodus 25:21–22; 31:18).

Davis explains the purposes of the tabernacle:

“From the standpoint of Israel’s immediate needs the Tabernacle served as a dwelling place for God and a meeting place for the people (cf. Exodus 25:8; 29:43–46; 40:34–37). It should not be concluded that the Israelites had conceived of their God as a localized deity. Far from that…It was here that God actually dwelt in a special way (cf. Num. 7:89; I Sam. 4:4; II Sam. 6:2)… Furthermore, the sanctuary provided a visible center for the worship of the one true God and thus provided a bulwark against the worship of the many gods of the heathen…

“The tabernacle also provided a prophetic prefigurement of the redemptive program of God as focused in Jesus Christ. It is clear from the book of Hebrews that the earthly tabernacle was not only a pattern of the heavenly, but was designed to point to the ministry and the deity of our Lord…the miracle of the virgin birth made it possible for the Lord Jesus to dwell among men (John 1:14). It is not accidental that the word “dwelt” in this text is literally translated “tabernacled.” The dwelling place of Christ now is in the heavenly sanctuary where he makes intercession for the saints. The tabernacle of Moses’ day was a remarkable picture of both the high priestly work of Christ here on earth and His eternal work in the heavens.”2

Click the image to enlarge.

If you have time this week look at the letter to the Hebrews. Beginning in Hebrews 6:13 through 10:25, the author goes through the work of Jesus for us as our high priest. Notice especially Hebrews 8:1–6; 9:1–28 on the earthly tabernacle and the true tabernacle.

Now the main point in what is being said is this: we have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the holy places and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.
For Christ did not enter holy places made with hands, mere copies of the true ones, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
Hebrews 8:1–2, 9:24 LSB

The last mention of the tabernacle in the Bible is at the coming of the new heaven and the new earth.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will WIPE AWAY EVERY TEAR FROM THEIR EYES; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain. The first things passed away.”
Revelation 21:3–4 LSB

No tears. No death. No mourning. No crying. No pain. The first things have passed away.

God Himself will dwell among us.

Silvesterzug Laterne: Bk muc. (CC BY-SA 4.0).
Model of the tabernacle, Timna Park, Israel: Ruk7. GFDL-1.2-or-later. (CC BY-SA 3.0) (CC BY-SA 2.5) (CC BY-SA 2.0) (CC BY-SA 1.0).
Tabernacle: Adik86. GFDL-1.2-or-later. (CC BY-SA 3.0).
1,2John J. Davis, “God’s Dwelling-Place (Exodus 25–27, 30–31, 35–40),” Moses and the Gods of Egypt: Studies in Exodus, second ed. (BMH Books, Winona Lake IN: 1971, 1986) 254–255, 255–256. The five titles and explanation are from Davis. I organized them into a list and omitted many of his details on Hebrew words for easier reading.

I’m using Michael Coley’s Bible reading plan (one page PDF to print) to read through the Bible in 2023. Each day my posts are on different books because he divides Bible readings into seven categories, one for each day of the week: Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy and Gospels. There’s more information on his plan and other ones at Read the Bible in 2023.

Copyright ©2021–2023 Iwana Carpenter

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