First of all, tabernacle has many meanings. In Strong’s concordance it means a residence, a shepherd’s hut, the lair of animals, also the Temple, dwelling place and tent. It seems just about anything could be a tabernacle. So our own homes are places to live. They can be a temple if we glorify God there.
After God told Moses everything needed, He said in Exodus 25:8 “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. This was after God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. A sanctuary is a consecrated thing or place (whether of Jehovah or idols) People have their own sanctuaries when they make a shrine of sorts for their singing idols, like Elvis Pressley. They have made him an idol. Many still insist they have seen him alive.
God doesn’t need a special place to live. No man made building, even with God’s directions, can ever begin to hold all of God’s glory. All of creation is God’s dwelling place. The only thing that can keep Him out is our sins. He can’t look on sin. Holy sanctuaries or tabernacles or churches are built to give man a sense of God’s presence. They are for man’s benefit; not God’s.
But I can get the same sense of His presence anywhere I may go if just in the silence of my own home. When I have the T.V. blasting away or the radio turned up loud or am aware of any other disturbing noises, I don’t feel that peace and closeness to God as I do when all is quiet. That is when I hear God best. At times it seems time has stood still and an awesome silence surrounds me. There is just a sweet communion with God although there are no words spoken. It may last just a few minutes and sometimes much longer. It seems I am not able to move nor do I want to move. It is a time of refreshing, away from the hustle and bustle of this busy, busy world.
Moses and the craftsmen did everything God commanded. Exodus 40:33b “So Moses finished the work.” Up until now, the tabernacle (tent) was just a building of sorts. It was beautiful but as yet, served no real purpose. A church may be the most beautiful building you have ever seen. But false preachers may creep in. II Peter 2:1 “But there were false prophets also among the people. Even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily (secretly) shall bring in damnable heresies. Even denying the Lord that brought them, and bring upon themselves destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious (deadly) ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” Are we able to spot the false teachers or will be taken in by their lies? We need the full armor of God to be able to discern correctly.
The next 5 verses (Exodus 34-38) changed the whole meaning. “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys. But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.”
They never had to guess what their next step would be. They knew exactly when God told them to stop and when to move on. When we walk close to God, we never have to guess, either. It’s our own carnal mind that often fogs up the goals God has set for us. I Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know you not that YOU are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” If any man defile the temple of God; him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
Take a good look at our flawed bodies; so many things wrong with it. Yet, God chose to let His Holy Spirit live in such a “building”. Can we really take it in just how loved and blessed we are that God wants to be that close to us and live within us? II Corinthians 6:14 tells us “Be you not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what concord (agreement) has Christ with Belial (a title for a worthless person---evil, naughty)?or what part has he that believes with an infidel?”
It is nothing but pride for us to think we can associate daily with such people and not be affected by it. Do we think we can change them by laughing at their naughty jokes or ignoring it when they take God’s name in vain? Does it do us any good to always be in the company of complainers and gossipers, wasting our time away on foolishness. Do we do more complaining and gossiping to keep up with them? When do we have time to do what God wants us to do.?
We may mention God or Jesus in such a crowd or tell about something God has done for us. The response we may get is one of ridicule, laughing at us because we are so naïve to believe such “rot”. Or they may get angry and say they don’t want anything to do with that religious stuff (garbage or other rude words). How can we ever be comfortable in a setting like that?
II Corinthians 6:16-18 “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For YOU are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people. Wherefore, come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Our spirits can tell when we are in the company of other children of God who are imperfect but works in progress. We have to be careful how we act and talk at all times. We can be sure, people are watching us, just waiting for us to slip and fall. They just love to say “And they call themselves a Christian.” Thank God, He is not finished with us yet. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
In this life we have to endure much suffering of one kind or another. Job 5:7 says “Yet man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward.” It doesn’t differentiate between godless men or God driven people. Ecclesiastes writes “I have seen the travail, which God has given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.” In short, our troubles either make us or break us. Some will turn to God and stick closer to Him and trust Him to take care of the situation. Others will turn against Him with a vengeance and want nothing more to do with Him.
So whether we find a tabernacle, temple or sanctuary, it is where God dwells and we will be with Him. Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. (This only applies to those who are written in the book of life.) Revelation 21:7a “He that overcomes shall inherit all things”
Revelation 5:13 "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and such as in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing and honor, and glory and power, be unto him that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever."