The Tabernacle: More Detail in Design (Exodus 26-27)
The word tabernacle comes from a Latin word meaning "tent." The Hebrew word translated tabernacle literally means "dwelling place." It may refer to either just the tent-or to the tent with the surrounding courtyard. In any case, the sense of being portable and temporary is obvious. And this sense of God having a temporary dwelling will continue all the way up to Solomon's time, when the tabernacle is replaced by the temple, a more fixed structure. This later event is seen by many as a foreshadowing of the Kingdom of God-when Christ takes up permanent residence on earth. The time of the tabernacle is thus seen as God inhabiting His people in the fleshly tent of our temporary bodies (compare 2 Corinthians 5:1-4).
In Exodus 26 and 27, we again read of the intricate designing of the Master Builder Himself. Only the finest materials available were used in construction of the tabernacle and its contents. Acacia wood was a light, strong and beautiful wood-durable and resistant to insects and disease-that grew in this region. God was very specific in His instructions for the building of the tabernacle. His instruction to be very precise in following the detailed building plan was repeated. He is the same when it comes to His righteous laws. Mankind is not to add to His laws or take away from them (Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Revelation 22:18-19). Whenever God designs and builds anything, He does so according to a careful advance plan. His creation is not the result of some massive random cosmic explosion with colliding planetoids later accidentally forming a globular mass right where the earth needed to be in the solar system to make it advantageous for human life. Could you imagine reading the words, "In the beginning, God said, 'OOPS'"?
When reading these chapters, take time to appreciate the fine detail of our Creator's perfect craftsmanship. And consider the lesson in Luke 16:10 to see how God judges our character: "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much."
Supplemental Material: Audiovisual presentation by Roy Holladay, "The Tabernacle, Parts 1 and 2" 1998, available on-line at www.ucg.org/brp/materials.