Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tabernacle thoughts

Recreational vehicle camped under trees
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Revelation 21:1-21

TO CHEW ON: “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people, God Himself will be with them and be their God.’” Revelation 21:3

Portable homes range from pup tents that weigh ounces to grand motorized coaches that are all but castles on wheels. However, even the grandest doesn’t compare to the tabernacle (skene – tent) of God, shown to John in his Revelation vision.

Throughout the Bible the tabernacle signifies God’s dwelling place. He gave Moses instructions on how to make the first physical tabernacle on Mount Sinai – an elaborate tent made with specific materials and completely dis-assemblable. The Israelites carried it with them during their 40 years of wandering in the desert, putting it up at each stop. God’s glory hovered over it and so possessed the Holy of Holies, no unsanctioned person could go into it and remain alive.

When Solomon built the temple, the physical portable tabernacle was retired. But Bible writers continue to refer to it:
  • David talks about being hidden in God’s tabernacle in the time of trouble (Psalm 27:5).
  • The writer to the Hebrews explains how Christ’s sacrifice on the cross brought an end to the need for the High Priest’s yearly foray into the Holy of Holies. No longer did he need to go into that room of the tabernacle (or temple) with a blood sacrifice to atone for sins. (Hebrews 9:6-15)
  • God spreads his tabernacle over the saints who come out of the tribulation in Revelation 7:15.
  • The beast blasphemes it in Revelation 13:6.
  • And in Revelation 15:5 “the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.”
In our reading today, a heavenly voice declares to John that God’s tabernacle is with men. Then John sees an indescribably beautiful city – the New Jerusalem – also called His bride, descending from heaven. It’s an amazing sight to picture and it's even more incredible to think that we will someday be a part of such an event!

Until then, though, God has a far humbler tabernacle. Us. You and me. Though the exact word “tabernacle” isn’t used, we are plainly told in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that we are God’s dwelling place. What an honor, privilege and responsibility!

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to begin to grasp the significance of being Your dwelling place on earth. Help me to live accordingly. Amen.

MORE: Michael Card sings “The New Jerusalem

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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