Bible Commentary: Exodus 26-27

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Exodus 26-27

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The Tabernacle: More Detail in Design 

The word tabernacle comes from a Latin word meaning "tent." The Hebrew word translated tabernacle literally means "dwelling place." It may refer to either just the tent, or to the tent with the surrounding courtyard. In any case, the sense of being portable and temporary is obvious. And this sense of God having a temporary dwelling will continue all the way up to Solomon's time, when the tabernacle is replaced by the temple, a more fixed structure. This later event is seen by many as a foreshadowing of the Kingdom of God - when Christ takes up permanent residence on earth. The time of the tabernacle is thus seen as God inhabiting His people in the fleshly tent of our temporary bodies (compare 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 [1] For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [2] For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed on with our house which is from heaven: [3] If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. [4] For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed on, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
American King James Version×

In Exodus 26 and 27, we again read of the intricate designing of the Master Builder Himself. Only the finest materials available were used in construction of the tabernacle and its contents. Acacia wood was a light, strong and beautiful wood - durable and resistant to insects and disease - that grew in this region. God was very specific in His instructions for the building of the tabernacle. His instruction to be very precise in following the detailed building plan was repeated. He is the same when it comes to His righteous laws. Mankind is not to add to His laws or take away from them (Deuteronomy 4:1-2 Deuteronomy 4:1-2 [1] Now therefore listen, O Israel, to the statutes and to the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers gives you. [2] You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 22:18-19 Revelation 22:18-19 [18] For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book: [19] And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
American King James Version×
). Whenever God designs and builds anything, He does so according to a careful advance plan. His creation is not the result of some massive random cosmic explosion with colliding planetoids later accidentally forming a globular mass right where the earth needed to be in the solar system to make it advantageous for human life. Could you imagine reading the words, "In the beginning, God said, 'OOPS'?"

When reading these chapters, take time to appreciate the fine detail of our Creator's perfect craftsmanship. And consider the lesson in Luke 16:10 Luke 16:10He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
American King James Version×
to see how God judges our character: "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much."

Supplemental Material: Audio presentation by Roy Holladay, "The Tabernacle, Parts 1 and 2" 1998, available online: Part 1a, Part 1b, Part 2a, Part 2b