I hear of some Christians, who disregard or dislike the Old Testament, they say things like “God is so angry” or “God is so unjust in His treatment of people”. When people say this to try and undermine the Scripture, what they tell me is that they don’t understand the Old Testament, and confuse their ignorance with God’s character. The reality is of course that the Old Testament contains the history, reason and revelation of the New, and as we understand more about it, the New Testament starts to stand out in vivid multi-dimensional colour.
The writers of the New Testament really knew what they were doing and were capable of using individual words to convey a truckload of imagery and meaning, which can empower us to really grasp the magnitude of what God has done. A great example of this is in John 1:14, where we read that Jesus “made His dwelling among us” NIV, or as the ESV says “dwelt among us”. Clearly, this is amazingly good news, but if we look a little deeper the picture becomes even more exciting.
The word translated ‘dwelling’ or ‘dwelt’ is the Greek word for tabernacled, not a word that we usually use in English, but one that can impart a whole new level of meaning.
After Israel had been set free from Egypt, God told Moses to build the Tent of Meeting where God would manifest Himself, speak with Moses, work wonders and convince Israel that He is indeed God Almighty. One of the differences between the Tent of Meeting and the pagan temples of Egypt was that the tent moved with the people; God’s presence was always at the centre of the community. Where the people went, God was with them.
Fast forward 1400 years and God takes on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. However, Jesus didn’t set up court in the Temple and call the nations to Him, instead He moved among and with the people, and of course another name for the Tent of Meeting is the Tabernacle. In the Tabernacle heaven and earth overlapped, the rule and power of heaven was there, and exactly the same is true of Jesus, He manifested the promised Kingdom of God wherever He went through the healing of bodies, the forgiveness of sins and the rebuking of religious oppressors.
From the Tabernacle God administered healing and justice, as did Jesus, ultimately through His death and resurrection. From the Tabernacle God gave the command to invade the surrounding nations, Jesus did the same thing after He was resurrected, but this time we go with the Gospel of Peace instead of a sword. I am quite sure that you will come up with examples of your own as read through and meditate on the biblical accounts of the Tabernacle.
All through the New Testament we see words and phrases overflowing with Old Testament imagery and meaning, and they are not accidental. They show us that God has had a plan from the beginning, even though there is much we do not understand, God’s consistency and faithfulness to what He has said show us that He can be trusted to bring what He has promised to fulfilment.
Life can, at times, go way beyond tough. People are murdered, communities destroyed, families struck with illness or financial lack, injustice preaches it message of selfishness and oppression, but God…
The God that made the universe stayed faithful after mankind’s sin, called an old and a barren woman, grew a nation, sent the Messiah and has promised to make all that is broken right. Sometimes we don’t see what we long for or receive what we ask for, but it isn’t over yet. The God who tabernacled with Israel lives in His church and where you go, He goes.
That I may dwell among them… Exodus 25:8
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Go well my friends 😀
If this was a help to you, please share.