The Tabernacle Of Israel (book review)

the-tabernacle-of-israelIf you have ever used the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible, you are probably familiar with the work of Dr. James Strong. By the way, if you haven’t used this concordance, it is 1500+ pages listing every word in the Bible and their Hebrew or Greek word and definition. By contrast, Dr. Strong’s book on The Tabernacle Of Israel is only 170 pages, but it’s just as jam-packed with helpful information.

I was recently reading through the books of the Bible where God gives Moses highly specific instructions for the portable Tabernacle that is to be used for the Hebrews to conduct their worship services. This temporary Tabernacle not only served them while they sojourned in the wilderness for 40 years, but it became the pattern for the brick-and-mortar Temple that King Solomon built years later, and its pattern is referred to again in the New Testament book of Hebrews as being a pattern of the worship in heaven. Obviously this is a significant thing!

Dr. Strong uses his extraordinary skills to compile an easy-to-follow study of the design guidelines, building materials, and exact layout of this Tabernacle. He uses not only the biblical accounts, but also augments his work with extensive archeological discoveries.

Then to wrap up the book, Dr. Strong talks about the significance of the layout, colors, materials, and even mathematical significance of the Tabernacle’s design, showing how it still impacts the New Testament Christian to this day.

This is an academic book, but it is well worth your time if you would like to get a more in-depth knowledge of the Tabernacle which God commanded Moses to build.

What God Is Building

Relativity by M.C. EscherI love the drawings of M.C. Escher. But some of his sketches are clearly optical illusions we all know couldn’t work in the real world. We don’t have to be architects or engineers or builders to know that for a building to be functional it has to have (1) a solid foundation, (2) it must be built with quality materials, and (3) it must be constructed by someone who knows what he/she is doing.

The Apostle Paul tells us that (1) Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the sure foundation, (2) you and I—God’s saints—are the quality building materials that are being used, and (3) the Holy Spirit knows exactly what He is doing as He joins us together.

A cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction, the reference point for all other stone, which determines the position of the entire structure. Christ Jesus Himself is the cornerstone of His Church (Ephesians 2:20b). Orientated to that cornerstone we have the foundation of the apostles and prophets (2:20a).

This foundation is the Word of God (2 Peter 1:19-2:3 and 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5). We dare not try to replace, nullify, update, or change His Word. Not would this cause the foundation to crumble, but there are dire consequences for the one who tries to do so (Revelation 22:18-19).

Our foundationOn this foundation, God is constructing three things, each one growing in its level of intimacy with Him and with the surrounding saints:

  • God’s household (Ephesians 2:19)—this Greek word means a family home.
  • the whole building (Ephesians 2:21a)—this is a specific part of the family home used for prayer and fellowship.
  • a holy temple (Ephesians 2:21b)—this is the same word used for the Holy Place and Holy of Holies in the tabernacle.

God’s Presence dwells in us individually, but collectively we make a more powerful statement (1 Corinthians 3:16). There is a far greater testimony to the world when individuals willingly and actively allow themselves to be built together; when Christians give up their personal agendas to say, “I want to be a part of something bigger than me—I want to be a part of we.”

We must study God’s Word to make sure we are building on the same foundation. We must allow our lives to be quality building materials. We must allow the Holy Spirit to build us together through prayer and fellowship! This becomes the fulfillment of the prayer Jesus Himself prayed for us (John 17:20-23).

This was the last message (for this time) in our series on the Book of Ephesians. I hope to be able to continue this study next year.

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