Posts tagged ‘Tabernacle’

September 7, 2011

Studies on the Tabernacle (Pt. 2) The Names and Designations of the Tabernacle

by Aaron Dunlop

The tabernacle was the meeting place of God. This is clearly identified in the four names that are given to it. The most common name was mishkan (dwelling place). It was also called an ohel (tent). God’s mishkan would necessarily be an ohel. Both of these names are significant. It must be a mishkan because God will dwell with His people. But it must also be an ohel because God’s people dwell in ohels. God identifies with the lot of His people and dwells with them there. Furthermore, God’s desire to dwell with His people is reciprocated; the tent is constructed by the freewill offerings of the people (Exodus 25:1–7) which indicated their desire for Him.

Two other names that were used to identify this dwelling place of God were “tent of meeting” and “tent of testimony.” The “tent of testimony” implies that any meeting with God will be according to God’s law and would therefore be a witness to who God is and what He is (Psalm 78:1–7).

When the scholars were working on the Revised Version in the 1800s, this phrase “the tent of meeting” generated important discussion because there is no English word that can express the meaning adequately. The Scottish revisers were keen to use the word “tryst” which means an “appointed meeting” or an “engagement” but this was not accepted by the majority because it was not a widely used word. The Authorized Version translated it “tabernacle of the congregation” but this does not give the sense of the Hebrew word. The tabernacle, the place of Old Testament worship, was “a pre-arranged meeting,” a “meeting by appointment,” and implies that the people comply with the arrangements for meeting laid down by the Lord (Exodus 29:42–43).

August 31, 2011

Studies on the Tabernacle (Pt. 1) Introduction

by Aaron Dunlop


Much of the New Testament language and theology cannot be fully understood without first understanding Old Testament history, the workings of God with His ancient people. Nowhere is this more evident than in the book of Hebrews, with the references to the tabernacle, the vessels of the ministry, priests and sacrifices, etc. A number of observations therefore highlight the importance of this study:

1. The weight of importance given to the tabernacle in the record of Scripture. There are over forty chapters given to the history, materials, crafting, and ministry of the tabernacle. Furthermore, the significance of the tabernacle is carried on in the first pages of the gospel (John 1:14: “He tabernacled with us) and extends to the future state of the church in eternity (Rev. 21:3). The physical form of the tabernacle embodied something of eternal significance.

2. The priority given to it over the temple. The glory of the temple in Solomon’s day, with its unparalleled splendor, never superseded that of the simple lessons taught in the rustic tabernacle of the wilderness. The writer to the Hebrews never refers to the temple, but always takes the people of Israel back to the tabernacle.

3. The typological significance attributed to the tabernacle. With all of the importance given to it, the time and craftsmanship in the building, the spiritual weight and reference to it in the Old Testament, it is interesting that the tabernacle as an instrument of worship is dropped without reluctance or regret by the New Testament church. This is because it pointed to a truth that was greater than its physical existence. The ritual and ceremony involved in the tabernacle ministry is finished; any return to it undermines its significance and cheapens the gospel.

4. The names and designations given to the tabernacle point us to the very heart of the corporate worship of Jehovah.

  • That God purposed to dwell with His people. This was called the “Tent of Meeting”(Exodus 29:42).
  • That God expects reciprocity in worship (there must be a mutual exchange, a response to God; theI will be your God and ye shall be my people relationship).
  • That God’s moral law is the most absolute expression of His will; this was called the “Tent of Testimony”(Ex. 38:21).

5. The form of worship which is so detailed adds emphasis to the importance the Lord puts on formal worship.

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