PMT 2018-002 by L. Michael Morales (Tabletalk)
God created man in his image and then came and dwelled with him in Eden. Due to man’s sin, God expelled him from Eden. But God lovingly and mercifully returns to dwell with man in the tabernacle, based on sacrifice and forgiveness. After Jesus’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, the tabernacle/temple reality begins gradually unfolding in the world through the process of new creation in Christ. Postmillennialists expect the gospel-based new creation to expand and envelope the whole world. This article from Tabletalk magazine provides remarkable insights into the relationship between the original creation and the tabernacle, then the new creation. It is insightful and may easily be adapted to the postmillennial hope, especially when we realize the new creation exists now (2 Cor. 5:17).
When the fiery cloud of God moved from the summit of Mount Sinai to the newly constructed tabernacle, covering God’s house with smoke and filling it with His glory (Ex. 40:34), a pinnacle in God’s dealings with humanity was realized. In this majestic scene, the book of Exodus ends with a resolution, albeit temporary and intermediate, to the story of humanity’s exile from Eden narrated in Genesis 3. Moreover, the glory-filled tabernacle also foreshadowed God’s ultimate solution to that primal expulsion through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
As we consider the significance of the tabernacle (and later temple) in Scripture, it will be helpful to keep two points in mind. First, the tabernacle was the house of God, the place of His dwelling. Blue, purple, and scarlet-threaded curtains, abundant use of pure gold, and a veil partitioning its two rooms mark the tabernacle as the palace of the most holy King.
Second, the tabernacle was also the way to God, its sacrificial rituals providing the atonement and cleansing needed to dwell with God. A simplified overview of the sacrificial system presents the way to God as involving a threefold movement into God’s presence, a “journey” traced through the ritual order of three primary sacrifices. Worship often began with the purification offering, with its emphasis upon blood underscoring humanity’s need for atonement, that is, to be forgiven and cleansed by God. Then followed the whole burnt offering that, with its emphasis on burning the whole animal apart from its skin, symbolized a life of total consecration to God. The liturgy would conclude with a peace offering in which the worshiper feasted upon a sacred meal with family and friends in God’s presence. Atonement, so the journey of sacrifice teaches, leads to sanctification, and sanctification grows into joyous communion with God.
Greatness of the Great Commission (by Ken Gentry)
An insightful analysis of the full implications of the great commission. Impacts postmillennialism as well as the whole Christian worldview.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
In sum, Israel’s relationship with God was preserved and cultivated by the sacrificial system of the tabernacle, enabling the Maker of heaven and earth to dwell with His people in fellowship. To understand the depth and wonder of such a purpose, we will reflect upon the meaning of the tabernacle first within God’s goal for creation and then as the heart of God’s covenant with His people-a purpose taken up and fulfilled by Jesus Christ.
Creation and the Tabernacle
Perhaps the key insight into the role and purpose of the tabernacle begins with understanding that originally, the cosmos itself was created to be God’s house wherein humanity would enjoy fellowship with God. Only when that house became polluted by sin and death did a secondary and provisional house—the tabernacle—become necessary. One would, therefore, expect a measure of correspondence between the tabernacle and creation, and that is precisely the case.
The creation account of Genesis 1:1–2:3 depicts God as a builder who makes a three-story house (heaven, earth, and seas) in six days, and then, upon its completion, takes up residence within it, enjoying Sabbath rest. Indeed, throughout Scripture the cosmos is often portrayed as God’s house, His sanctuary or temple. The psalmist says, for example, that God stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of His chambers in the waters (Ps. 104:2–3; cf. Isa. 40:22). Both ancient and contemporary interpreters have also noted significant parallels between the creation and tabernacle accounts of the Pentateuch, including the language of blessing and sanctification used to describe their completion.
Also, while creation is recounted in seven paragraphs (for seven days), culminating in the Sabbath, there are, similarly, seven divine speeches recounting the instructions for the tabernacle (Ex. 25–31), the seventh speech culminating with Sabbath legislation that refers directly to God’s Sabbath of Genesis 2:1–3 (see Ex. 31:12–18). The “Spirit of God” enables the construction of both God’s house as cosmos (Gen. 1:2) and God’s house as tabernacle (Ex. 31:1–5).
Moreover, though it is typically lost in English translations, the creation account uses tabernacle terminology, particularly on the central fourth day described in Genesis 1:14–19. The Hebrew word for “lights,” referring to the sun and moon, planets and stars, is the same word for the “lamps” that elsewhere in the Pentateuch always refer to the lamps of the tabernacle lampstand. Similarly, the Hebrew word for “seasons” for which the lights or lamps function as markers is a term that in the Pentateuch becomes synonymous with Israel’s feasts or cultic festivals.
As It Is Written: The Genesis Account Literal or Literary?
Book by Ken Gentry
Presents the exegetical evidence for Six-day Creation and against the Framework Hypothesis.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
These features, along with the Sabbath day that concludes the account, serve to portray the cosmos as a grand temple in which humanity has the priestly privilege of drawing near to God in worship and fellowship—with all of creation, including the sun, moon, and stars, serving as a call to worship. The cosmos as a three-storied house of heaven, earth, and seas is mirrored in the tabernacle’s threefold structure, with the Holy of Holies corresponding to God’s heavenly throne room. The purpose of creation, then, is for God and humanity to dwell in the house of God in fellowship. As humanity’s “chief end,” Sabbath day communion with God is highlighted since the seventh day is the only object of sanctification in the entire book of Genesis (2:3).
In the Eden narratives (Gen. 2:4–4:16), the tabernacle imagery develops richly, with the garden of Eden portrayed as the original Holy of Holies. The lushness of Eden is captured in the fullness of life associated with the tabernacle, including the lampstand, a stylized tree that some have compared to Eden’s tree of life (and the vision of Ezekiel’s temple includes a river of life as well; Ezek. 47:1–12). The Lord’s presence in Eden, described as “walking,” is presented similarly with the tabernacle (Gen. 3:8; Lev. 26:11–12). Also, the portrayal of Adam’s work in the garden, translated better as “to worship and obey” (Gen. 2:15), is used elsewhere only to describe the work of the Levites at the tabernacle (Num. 3:7–8). Even the language for God’s clothing of Adam and the woman reappears later in Moses’ clothing of the priests (Gen. 3:21; Lev. 8:13). . . .
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