The Agora
Bible Articles and Lessons: T

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The tabernacle built in the days of Moses was the center of divine worship in Israel. It was a figure for the time then present, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered at that time -- while good and righteous and from God -- were not yet the perfect sacrifice, which was yet to come (Heb 9:9).

Nevertheless, that tabernacle was glorious: its plans were divinely revealed, its workmen specially endowed, and all its materials were brought "out of Egypt". It was built, as God told Moses, on the "patterns of things in the heavens" (Heb 9:23). As there was an earthly tabernacle, so there had been before -- and still is -- a heavenly tabernacle.

The heavenly sanctuary pictured in the Apocalypse, or Revelation, contains cherubim, a seven-branched lampstand, officiating priests (the angels), and the overshadowing glory of God (Rev 4:5,7,10). This is the model upon which the Almighty works.

The Apostle John (who received the visions of the Apocalypse) might have seen from Patmos, looking eastward, a tabernacle pattern written large on the earth:

The whole tabernacle was erected on bare ground, that is the "dust of the earth". In figurative terms, it was to be built upon the foundation of humanity, and God Himself was to dwell among men, and be glorified in their midst.

Thus the tabernacle foreshadowed God manifestation, in three distinct stages:

  1. justification, or mental [lampstand = light; laver = baptism];
  2. sanctification, or moral [shewbread, memorial table; incense = prayer]; and
  3. glorification, or physical [the most holy place, with the glory of God].
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