Reformed Reflections

What the BIBLE says ... about THE TABERNACLE
(Its message for Today). Leadership Ministries Worldwide.
PO.Box 21310, Chattanooga, Tennessee. 1997. pb, 357pp. (No authors named.)

I wonder how many in our circles have heard a series of sermons preached on the tabernacle or on the articles in the tabernacle?

Perhaps pastors are hesitant to preach on this subject because so many evangelicals spiritualize the articles mentioned in the tabernacle to such an extent that they have found profound meaning in every knob and bowl. 

Of course, we must avoid extremes. What's needed is the balance of the Holy Spirit, whose ministry is to "guide us into all truth." And the Reformed principle of scripture interpreting Scripture must also be kept in mind in such a study. however, we should be the last ones to repudiate the use of symbolism and the typology the tabernacle conveys, although a word of caution is definitely in order. 

The purpose of the tabernacle is explained in Exodus 25: "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." The tabernacle was to be a place "set apart" by God so that He could dwell among His people. For the first time in history, God was to have a carefully defined and designed center for worship. The unique structure of the tabernacle and its function as a place of worship is of great importance in the understanding of the covenantal unity of Scripture and of its teaching of the plan of redemption. 

The Bible devotes only two chapters to the creation account, but dedicates 37 chapters to the tabernacle. Thirteen chapters in the book of Exodus discuss the tabernacle and its priesthood. Eighteen chapters of Leviticus center on its sacrificial system, and two chapters of Deuteronomy are set aside for its study. In the New Testament, the tabernacle is discussed in four of the 13 chapters in Hebrews, more than 30% of the entire epistle. The New Testament cannot be fully appreciated apart from the truths the tabernacle teaches. References to offerings and sacrifices, the tabernacle and its furnishings, cannot be comprehended without background knowledge of the tabernacle. And we certainly cannot understand the marvelous saving work of Jesus Christ, our great high priest and sacrifice, without knowing the significance of the tabernacle and its functions. As the authors put it: "There is, therefore, a richness of meaning and symbolism in the Tabernacle that is sometimes clear, although it is not specifically spelled out by Scripture. When the symbolic meaning is clear, it points to the person of Christ and spiritual truth." The tabernacle proclaims the Gospel of grace. It shows how God provided a specific way for people to approach and worship Him. The tabernacle symbolizes three major things.  

1. It reveals every aspect of Jesus Christ and His work as the Word who became flesh and dwelt ("tabernacled") among us.  

2. It symbolizes the ministry of the Church.  

3. It pictures the Christian believer.

This rich study of the tabernacle has appropriate drawings of its structure and furniture. It is written to inspire and enrich the average Christian ─ to "feed the sheep." It is also an informative book for pastors and teachers who plan to either preach a series of sermons or teach a course on the tabernacle. I hope that this book will find wide acceptance and use in our churches. Its enlightening and stirring thoroughly Scriptural message is greatly needed!


The Canadian address for purchasing is: Mr. Edward Baran,
International Support Ministries, 32330 S. Frazer Way, # 302.
Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 1X1;
Phone: (604) 853-6757)


Johan D. Tangelder
July, 1998