Cover to Cover
Reading: Exodus 25:1-27:21
Focus: Exodus 25:1-27:21
Throughout our world are amazing pieces of architecture which we admire (or not, click here) and boast of human creativity and achievement. The talent which God has given to those people is mind-blowing. The future is, really, only limited by one’s imagination. Neither has this only been something of the modern period, but something which has been since the beginning of human civilisation. One only needs to think about the seven wonders of the ancient world: the pyramids, Babylon’s hanging gardens, the great lighthouse of Alexandria, just to name a few.
However, when it came to building a place for God to dwell among His people, while it was grand, it was simple. In the instructions given to Moses about the building of the Tabernacle, one could almost pencil the design yourself just by following the instructions given. There’s no grand blueprint which points out all the little intricacies that one would not be able to discover just by reading the instructions. (Wikipedia: Tabernacle)
What is striking is that God—just remember who we’re talking about here: God of the universe, Creator of all things, etc.—does not request for Himself a grand palace. Sure, the Tabernacle is decked out in gold, silver, bronze; blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen—the marks of a king—but in comparison to the temples and palaces of the ancient world, this Tabernacle is nothing. It is, as the name suggests, just an overly decorated tent. However, it is not without its purpose.
The Tabernacle and all its details point forward to the future of God’s kingdom. The writer of Hebrews wrote (Hebrews 8:5):
They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
The main thrust behind the book of Hebrews is to show that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of the heritage of Israel—the Tabernacle/Temple, the sacrificial system, the priestly system. Each element within this system of worship pointed ahead to the coming and work of the person of Jesus Christ. (If you ever have the chance, definitely something worth exploring in detail. Click here for a quick survey.)
With all this in mind, while the Tabernacle may have been an ornately decorated tent, it all served a greater purpose—to direct one’s focus and attention to coming of a greater age, a greater kingdom, where God would no longer simply “dwell” in a place build with human hands, but would “dwell” among His people and within their hearts. No greater piece of architecture can compare with the understanding that the God of the universe chose to send His Son as the price to purchase us, so that we might dwell with Him in eternity.
Next Reading: Exodus 28:1-30:16