The Church as the Tabernacle of God

The Church as the Tabernacle of God
April 5, 2020
Passage: Exodus 25:9
Service Type:

I want to draw some comparisons between the tabernacle of the Old Testament and the church of today.

  • Exodus 25:8,9

I want to focus on the phrase "according to all that I show thee after the pattern."  In as much as the tabernacle was made according to a divine pattern; the church, the spiritual body of Christ today, is patterned after the tabernacle.

Judaism Contains TYPES of the New Testament Church

A TYPE is a “representative form” or “characteristic” of something else.

The Tabernacle is a type of the Lord’s church.

  • Hebrews 9:1-12, 23-24; 10:1-2

It was necessary for the pattern of things "in the heavens." The things of the Old Testament, of the tabernacle itself was a pattern of the church which was to come. Old Testament types perfectly fit into the New Testament doctrine as a pattern.

Therefore, there are things we can learn from the pattern of the tabernacle that applies to the church today. However, there is nothing that can be learned in the pattern that pertains to denominations of today.

"To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:" — Ephesians 3:10-11

  • Hebrews 10:1,2

The Old Testament was put into place to bring about Christ, which was the manifold wisdom of God from the very beginning.

Background of the Tabernacle

The tabernacle was made by the command of God. We can read about this in Exodus 25 through 27. It in God gave detailed instructions on how it was to be constructed. The tabernacle and everything about it was built with precious materials. The purpose and conduct in the tabernacle was specified by God.

The tabernacle is a type of the New Testament church, therefore God also gave specific instructions. It was built with the most precious material ever made.

  • Acts 20:28

The church is purchased with the precious blood of Christ. The purpose and conduct of the church was also specified by God.

  • 1 Timothy 3:15

The Bible gives us information on how the church is to conduct itself.

Typology in the Tabernacle

The different areas of the tabernacle represents the areas of the church.

The Court of the Tabernacle

The court outside the tabernacle represents the world apart from Christ. The holy place, the inside, represents the church, and the most holy place represents Heaven.

The court outside the church represents those who are outside of a relationship with God. The regular people could not go into the tabernacle they had to wait outside the tabernacle, in the courtyard. Only the priests were allowed to enter the tabernacle. In the church today, Christians are the priests of the church.

  • 1 Peter 2:5, 9
  • Romans 3:22-24
  • Titus 2:11

The Altar of Burnt Offering Outside the Tabernacle

An animal was sacrificed in lieu of sinners for atonement. Christ became the atoning sacrifice in place of sinners.

  • Hebrews 7:26,27

The High Priest could not make sacrifice for anyone unless he first made sacrifice for himself. Not so with Jesus.

  • Hebrews 10:3, 4

Every year the High Priest had to make an atonement sacrifice, Not so with Jesus. He sacrificed once and for all.

The Laver Outside the Tabernacle

The laver was placed immediately before the entrance outside the tabernacle which was the specific direction from God.

Exodus 30:18

Priests were to make themselves clean before they could enter into the tabernacle.

  • Exodus 29:4-9

We see that they ceremoniously washed themselves before they could enter into the tabernacle. This represents baptism in the New Testament church. If the holy place represents the church, we too must be washed before we can enter the church.

  • Acts 22:16
  • Titus 3:5
  • 1 Peter 3:21

The laver set before the tabernacle and the washing of the priests represents the act of baptism to enter into the church.

The Table of Shew Bread inside the Tabernacle

The table of shew bread was 2 cubits by 1 cubit was placed inside the tabernacle.

  • Exodus 25:23-24
  • Exodus 26:35

The table of shew bread represents the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament Church. It is observed each first day of the week by Christians who are priests.

  • 1 Corinthians 11:24-25

This was a memorial feast instituted by the Lord, like the memorial feast of the wilderness wanderings to show what God has done.

The Holy Place inside the Tabernacle

The Holy Place represents the NT church itself. There was only one way into the Holy Place in order to enter the tabernacle. Entrance into the Most Holy place must first be made by entering the holy place. Likewise, the Lord's church only has one door.

  • John 10:1-5, 7-9

Jesus is the only way to the Father

  • John 14:6

Heaven is only accessible through the entrance first into the church.

  • Hebrews 9:8

The only way into the Most Holy Place, Heaven, is to enter into the Lord's church, through the door, which is Christ.

The Golden Candlestick Inside the Tabernacle

The golden candlestick inside the tabernacle represents the Word of God.

  • Exodus 25:31-37

In the base was the oil which fed 7 lamp stands. It was to be burned continuously. The New Testament anti-type is the word of God which is a perpetual light.

  • Psalms 119:104-105, 130
  • 2 Peter 1:19

The golden candlestick provided light. God's light continues to show forth. It is a perpetual light that can't be hid.

The church is the light of the world.

The Altar of Incense Inside the Tabernacle

The Altar of Incense represents the prayers in the New Testament Church.

  • Exodus 30:1-8

It was in the Holy Place just outside the entrance to the Most Holy Place. It was placed right at the veil and the incense, aroma would waft before the Mercy Seat, the presence of God beyond the veil.

Similarly, the prayers of the saints waft before the throne of God, continually.

  • Revelation 8:3-4

The smoke of the altar of incense represents the prayer of the saints.

The Most Holy Place Inside the Tabernacle

Furniture and items within the Most Holy Place included the Ark of the Covenant which contained the Law of the Covenant, the manna, Aaron's rod, and on the top of which was the Mercy Seat of God. In the Most Holy Place, the Priest only went once a year.

  • Hebrews 9:8

Into the Most Holy Place, the High Priest alone entered once a year to make atonement for the sins people. Jesus entered once into the Most Holy Place of Heaven to make redemption possible for all men.

The church, as we see, is an anti-type of the Tabernacle. Both of which were constructed according to the instructions of God. The tabernacle is a type of the church distinguishing the church from any other body.

We learn from all of this that one cannot enter the tablernacle without first being washed. In order to be saved without baptism or being outside of the Lord's church.

Will you enter into the holy tabernacle of God? Will you become a child of God and part of that Royal priesthood? You must hear the word of God, believe the word of God, repenting of your sins, and confessing that Jesus is the son of God. And, be baptized for the remission of your sins so that you can enter into the Holy Temple of God.

Contact us and we will help you make that change in your life to enter into the Holy Place of God.

Watch the entire Sunday morning worship service.


Jack McNiel, Evangelist
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