Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Advent 2023: December 20 - People

Wednesday, December 20th: People

Read Exodus 40 & 1 Kings 7-8.

Exodus chapters 20-40 are not often described as the most engaging reading in the Bible.  But think about it this way.  God in these chapters is making it possible to become present for his people in a tangible way.
In the tabernacle, God is enabling his presence to be with his people.  In fact, it is this concept that John uses in John 1 to say that “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.”  We could say that the Tabernacle is our Lord Jesus ahead of time.  Or we could think of the tabernacle as the skin of the Old Testament Jesus.

After the construction of the tabernacle, everyone clears the area.  Because after all is said and done, God himself comes down in the pillar of the cloud and lights up the area and fills the tabernacle.  The sight is so awesome and terrifying that not even Moses can dare to approach it.  The tabernacle is glorified and made holy.
The same happens in 1 Kings 7-8.  Solomon is building the temple in Jerusalem that will be the replacement for the Tabernacle.  At the conclusion of Solomon’s dedication of the Temple, the same thing happens in 1 Kings 8, that we saw in Exodus 40.  God comes down in a brilliant display and makes his presence known.

By doing this, God is locating himself where he can be found and accessed.
Of course, all this is really to point us to Jesus Christ.  Jesus himself said, “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”  Jesus is saying he is the true temple that the temple in Jerusalem could only point towards as its fulfillment.

Indeed now, as St. Peter notes, we are God’s temple, each of us as Christians are living stones being built up into a spiritual presence for God.  Our view of the end is that our bodies, having been connected to God in Christ, will be filled with the presence of God and glorified.  Just as the Tabernacle and the Temple were.
So, whenever we read about the Tabernacle or the Temple in the Old Testament, we should always be reminding ourselves that this is referring first to Jesus, and then to the people of God that are being built into a spiritual house for God to dwell in.