<<OT movable house of worship>>

God said, “I want Israel to make a sanctuary for me that I might dwell among them”. It was also called the “Tent of Meeting” where His glory invaded (Ex 25:8,9, 40:29-35). This portable tent-like structure, designed for use on the journey to the Promised Land, was dedicated to the worship of God, and was the focal point of the Israelites’ lives.  Detailed instructions were given for its construction and the duties of the priests and Levites who were responsible for its use (Ex 25-40). It was over 400 years before it was replaced by Solomon’s temple, the permanent place of worship in Jerusalem.

The tabernacle area consisted of three distinct parts: 1/. The outer court, measuring 150 by 75 feet (45 by 22.5m) enclosed by curtains, was accessible to all the people. It contained a large altar for the numerous animal blood sacrifices, and a large basin for the priests to wash. The actual tabernacle

tent about 45 by 15 feet (13 by 4.5m), was divided into two rooms. 2/. The “holy place”, about 30 by 15 feet (9.1 by 4.5m), into which only the priests could enter, contained a seven-branched lamp stand with candles continually burning, a small altar of incense, and a table on which 12 loaves of unleavened shewbread were placed each Sabbath. A curtain separated it from the remainder of the tent. 3/. The “holy of holies”, or the most holy place. The high priest could only enter once per year to sprinkle the atoning blood on the ark – a chest which symbolically was God’s earthly dwelling place (2 Sam 6:2; 1 Kgs 8:29). During the years in the desert this whole structure was dismantled, carried, and then re-assembled by the Levites as the Lord directed by the movement of the cloud (Ex 40:36-38).

The original Tabernacle or place where God dwelt with the Israelites was where God's presence resided, now God through the Holy Spirit lives in all believers, yet coming is a greater level when "The dwelling place of God is with people and He will live with them" for ever in the New Jerusalem (1 Cor 6:19; Rev 21:3).

See also: ark (2), Levities, priests, sacrifice and offering, Temple.