The Temple and The Tabernacle

Do you ever feel as if you are moving through the wilderness?  Be encouraged. Ever since the Jews were re-gathered and the nation of Israel “born again,” students of prophecy have watched for one particular significant sign:  the rebuilding of the Temple.

“…And then the end will come,” Jesus said.  “…When you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand)…” (Matthew 24:15).

The abomination of desolation will herald the appearance of the Anti-Christ, and great tribulation. But it will also precede the second coming of Jesus!  What does that mean?  What is so significant that Daniel prophesied of it centuries before Jesus warned us?

The abomination is something evil that will desecrate the Temple of God.  Which means that before the Lord comes back, there will be a Third Temple built in Jerusalem.

The Temple Solomon built, covered in plates of gold, reflected the first rising of the sun with fiery splendor, as well as Solomon’s passion and love for God.  He personally fulfilled the mission his father, King David, handed him, building a Temple of astounding beauty and filled with the glory of God.

In 586 BC the Babylonians sacked the city of Jerusalem, and destroyed the Temple.  During the era of Ezra and Cyrus the Great, the Temple was rebuilt, and five centuries later, renovated by Herod.  But then one day as Jesus was leaving the Temple and His disciples came up to Him, He said, “Do you see all these things?  I tell you the truth, not one stone will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2).

In 70 AD, after the birth of the Christian church, the Temple was destroyed by the Romans, and in spite of a few failed attempts over the centuries to re-build, the mountaintop fell under Islamic possession and is now the occupied Dome of the Rock.

The history is elaborate and colorful, but the one thing most students of prophecy agree upon, Jew and Christian alike, is that a third Temple will be built to usher in the age of the Messiah.

A Temple in the Wilderness But something else equally significant will take place.  The prophet Amos told us, “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old…” (Amos 9:11). The Tabernacle in Sinai

Centuries later, in a meeting of the early church, James stood up before the Jerusalem counsel and quoted Amos, adding, “"Men and brethren, listen to me  …Just as it is written:  'After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up, so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name…Known to God from eternity are all His works” (Acts 15: 13-18).

So, besides the Temple being rebuilt, James prophesied, quoting Amos, David’s Tabernacle will be rebuilt!

The Temple was a permanent place where God’s glory was revealed in the Holy of Holies, visible only to the priests.  But before the Temple was built, the children of Israel under Moses carried the Tabernacle through the wilderness. Then in 1050 B.C., King David brought the Ark to Jerusalem and placed it in a tent, known as the Tabernacle of David (2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 13-16). The Ark stayed in David's Tabernacle for 40 years until it was moved into the Temple built and dedicated by David's son Solomon in 1010 B.C. (2 Chronicles 5-7).

Solomon's Temple

In the wilderness, the Tabernacle served as a mobile Temple, and in this Temple, the glory of God was revealed to all the people.  A pillar of fire by night, a cloud by day, His power and glory were manifested again and again.  They saw miracles, signs and wonders; they experienced the glory of God first hand.

“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” the apostle Paul said to the early believers centuries later.  Do you not realize that now it is you who harbors the glory?  It is through you that God desires to glorify Himself.  It is the Holy Spirit,  “who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own…For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Do you realize the significance of that?  The Temple, the Tabernacle – subjects of centuries of longings and searching (like the Indiana Jones movies!) have been fulfilled in the Body Of Christ.  Believers, all around the world, from all walks of life, are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit, living and translucent Tabernacles through which the glory of God is revealed.

A Decade of Destiny

The number TEN carries great significance in the Bible, often representing fullness or completeness.  After the tenth plague in the book of Exodus God manifested Himself and gave His children freedom. He carved the Ten Commandments into stone, stating all that was needed, and then His glory shone through Moses and was carried in Ark in the Tabernacle.

And now we begin a new decade, 2010.  A Decade of Destiny awaits us.

Jesus appeared to His chosen apostles after His resurrection and gave them the promise of Acts 1:8: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Then 120 believers gathered to pray in the Upper Room, soon followed by the day of Pentecost, when a multitude of believers were gathered in one place and “suddenly there came a sound from heaven like a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house…then there appeared divided tongues, as of fire… and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2).  What a graphic picture of the fulfillment of Amos’ prophecy about the restoration of David’s Tabernacle. God’s glory shining through His new sons and daughters!

As the Lord spoke to me about the restoration of the Tabernacle, I thought about how the Temple was a geographically fixed building.  The Tabernacle, however, was God’s temple in the wilderness.

Do you ever feel as if you are moving through the wilderness?  Be encouraged.  The tabernacle was mobile, covered in animal skins, not as polished or finished as the Temple.  But God’s glory was there nevertheless, more accessible, freely visible, guiding His people.

Now, we are His Tabernacle – stumbling often through the wilderness, clothed in flesh, but still, a place for God’s glory to be manifested and experienced as we walk by faith.  As we watch the rebuilding of a physical Temple, may He manifest His glory through us, His living Temples.

We are in for a wild decade but we are not to fear!  God will be glorified and take care of us as we allow Him to shine in and through us!

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