Saturday, August 08, 2015

A literary tabernacle

We don't have a physical tabernacle here on earth today. God hasn't given us one. Neither has he given us a model of one, nor a photo, nor a picture, nor a diagram, nor a video, nor an interactive online experience, nor a holo-deck.

Now, you will say, "Rector, some of that stuff hadn't been invented when Exodus was writ." I know that, but God is Almighty God, so that wouldn't stop him, would it?

What God has given us is a literary tabernacle. A detailed description. But a selective one. There's all sorts of interesting and amazing stuff. But it's not a schematic drawing nor a blueprint. You could probably build something based on the Biblical description, but many assumptions and a lot of guesswork would be required. That's because God doesn't want you to build a tabernacle. But he does want you to reflect on what he has said about it, including the details. And I reckon you and the church have some way to go on this.

Is this the most urgent and important part of the Bible? The clearest? The great need of the moment? Well, maybe not. But it clearly matters to God so it matters. He has preserved this lengthy material for his church to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. You need not spend the next 3 years entirely devoted to tabernacle studies, but the church ought to get to it in due course. It would benefit us in ways we do not yet fully grasp if we did.

(I owe the idea of a literary tabernacle to The Revd Dr James Jordan's lectures on Exodus)

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