The Tabernacle of David

1. Introduction

A real-life parable

Heb 1:1-2 (NIV) In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, (Amp. version: many separate revelations, each of which set forth a portion of the truth) 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

One of these separate revelations of the truth is the teaching about the Tabernacle of David. Not all of the truth, but another real life parable concerning the nature of our Lord Jesus Christ and the worship that is His due.

The Old Testament is made up of fragments of truth all blending together, that find completion in the Lord Jesus Christ.

David’s Tabernacle of another of the dwelling places where God revealed himself and typifies aspects of the church age.

The importanceof the Tabenace of David

Amos 9:11 (NIV) “In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be,

Acts 15:16-18 (NIV) “‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ 18 that have been known for ages.

Notice that in the rebuilding the Lord was to be the builder … I will rebuild, I will restore. These same words were spoken to Peter also.

Mat 16:18 (NIV) And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Matthew is recalling a quotation from Acts, spoken because of an argument concerning admitting Gentiles to the church.

A difference of opinion about circumcision began the problem. Among the churches of the Gentiles Paul had preached the circumcision of the heart. Certain brethren disputed this and tried to bring the Gentiles in under the rite of the covenant seal of Abraham and the Law of Moses. It was argued that only by this could they be saved. Members of the church who were Sadducees were strong in arguing this teaching.

Paul and Barnabas travelled to Jerusalem to discuss this with the Elders of the Jerusalem church.

Acts 15:6 (NIV) The apostles and elders met to consider this question.

(Eph 2:20 NIV) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

This is the way such matters should be dealt with in the local church. A meeting is called between the ELDERS who were the oversight of the church and the APOSTLES who are the establishers of doctrine.

It is significant that Pastors, Teachers or Evangelists are not mentioned.

Peter speaks in support of his ministry approach.

(Acts 15:7-11 NIV) After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. [8] God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. [9] He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. [10] Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? [11] No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

Paul and Barnabas also support Peter .

Acts 15:12 (NIV) The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.

The final court of appeal … the Word of God. James speaks in wisdom and appeals to the book of Amos

(Acts 15:15 NRSV) This agrees with the words of the prophets, as it is written,

16 ‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, 17 that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things’ 18 that have been known for ages.

This reminder about the prophecy of Amos brings with it the question … What is the rebuilt Tabernacle of David? The Scripture states that the Lord is to build it again. How then does this relate to the church? When, where and how is the building to take place?

It was to be set up so that the all the other people could seek the Lord and also all the Gentiles who have had the Lord’s name called over them. In this one extract from Amos is a simple summary describing the nature of the New Testament Church. This tent is to be a place where all may seek the Lord.

For these men of the early church the concepts being faced were a huge step forward for a people who had been brought up in the shadow of the Law of Moses. They had to grapple with ideas that did away with blood sacrifice and a dependence on physical building as meeting places with the Eternal God and come to a reliance on that which was entirely spiritual.

(Eph 2:21-22 NRSV) In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; [22] in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

David’s tent could not be replaced in the physical sense for the Lord God would no longer dwell in dwellings built by the hands of man. However some pattern or instruction was hidden in this simple tent for the church to take up and use for the glory of God.


The Ark of God takes an important place in the setting up of David’s Tabernacle. In the history of Israel the Ark was the place of meeting.

a full size model of the ark built by the State of Israel

Exo 25:10-22 (NIV) “Have them make a chest of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. 11 Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold molding around it. each other, looking toward the cover. 21 Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you. 22 There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.

This was the first piece of furniture made for the Tabernacle of Moses. All things begin with God and the Ark represents in its construction the triune Godhead. Upon this chest rested the Shekinah glory.

More detail can be found in the earlier book on the Tabernacle of Moses.


The Ark was made that it might travel. The rods were not taken out until it reached the final resting-place.

Mat 8:20 (NIV) Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Heb 11:13-16 (NIV) All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.

There came a time when Israel withdrew the staves and the Ark was placed in the Temple of Solomon.

(2 Chr 35:3 NIV) He said to the Levites, who instructed all Israel and who had been consecrated to the LORD: “Put the sacred ark in the temple that Solomon son of David king of Israel built. It is not to be carried about on your shoulders. Now serve the LORD your God and his people Israel.


The two winged cherubim extended their wings over the mercy seat upon which was sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice. The mercy seat itself covered the tablets of the law within. It hid the ministration of death.

In this way the blood sprinkled mercy seat stood between the glory of God and the law which condemns … A picture of the cross.