The Tabernacle of Moses

Preliminary note: God’s dwelling places

Love and substitution

From the beginning of time, God has always desired to dwell with His people in some tangible manner.

In the Garden of Eden God showed Himself openly to His creation. In Genesis He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, in the cool of the evening, talking and manifesting Himself to them openly Then when sin came, separation came. Because God was holy and could not fellowship with sin (even though He loved His children) He sought to produce other ways to have fellowship with the creation He loved so much. Firstly, fellowship was restored by the death of an animal and a covering made for Adam and Eve. This shedding of blood covered more than their bodies it also covered their sinful state. (The death of an innocent as a substitution for the guilty.)

Love made this possible as this kind of substitution is the highest rule of love.

(John 15:13 NRSV) No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Blood for cleansing

This form of propitiation for sin became the typical sacrifice given by the head of the family as a sin offering. The removal of sin (cleansing) was possible because the death paid the price (punishment)

(Heb 9:22 NIV) In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.


Altars of sacrifice, where sin was covered by a substitutionary death of a spotless and blameless animal became a way of propitiation. With sin covered God was able to commune with and enjoy fellowship with the sinner. By this method God’s servants from Adam to Moses were able to meet with Him.

Tabernacle (Tent)

Then God produced another pattern, and gave it to Moses. This was the Tabernacle pattern given for the Wilderness wanderings of the Children of Israel. (They were nomads)

This was a place where God could reveal His presence, and record His Name, in the midst of His people.

God met with His people by means of this Tabernacle.


Then in the Promised Land, David sought to have fellowship with his God continually, by means of a fixed abode for Him. (They had become city dwellers) God heard his prayer, and the plan for the Temple was given. Another means for God to dwell in the midst of His people, and have fellowship with them.

As in the beginning before man fell blood had to be connected with every one of them. “Without the shedding, of blood, there is no remission of sins”.

David was not allowed to build the temple because of all his wars. God wanted a peaceful man to build it. So Solomon the fruitful, third king of united Israel did the building. His was the third reign of forty years, in succession, i.e.120 year

Then God moved on again. He is always moving, as He is light, and if we do not move with Him, our light becomes darkness


This time, God came and dwelt with His people in a tabernacle made of flesh and bone.

(Jn 1:14.)The Word was made flesh and dwelt (“tabernacled’ in the original) among us, and we beheld His glory (Shekinah) the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

As before, there was no other access to the Father, except through the pattern laid down by God, for the period of time it was given” for, so when

Jesus came, He said “No person comes to the Father but by Me’:

It was useless an Israelite trying to get to God by means of his own private altar, when the Tabernacle was there to be used. God had given the Altar pattern, but now, He had moved on, and incorporated the altar into the Tabernacle, and private altars where no longer God’s way, In the same way, it was useless trying to reach the Father through the Tabernacle, when the Temple stood there. God had moved on, and He expected His people to move on with Him. When Jesus came, Temple worship ceased, and the Shekinah Presence disappeared from the Holy of Holies

(Matthew) And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.

A new temple became the dwelling place of the Glory of God. (A temple not made with hands.) Jesus said

(Mark 14:58 KJV) We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.

(John 2:19 KJV) Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

Jesus became the place where God dwelt and recorded His name.

The Ecclesia

After the ascension Jesus was to be the way and the door and the head over the next dwelling place of God “the church” which is his body. This is the latest dwelling place of God and incorporates all the patterns of the Altars, the tabernacle, the temple.

This then is the framework of our study as we seek to learn of the dwelling places of God.