God embeds Himself within the community of Israel through the Tent of Meeting. And, like the hub of a wheel, the Tent of Meeting is located at the very center of Hebrew life. God with us.
The Tent of Meeting accomplishes four tasks:
- The design for the Tent of Meeting is revealed to Moses from heaven and dispenses a link to the eternal counsel of God. All religions are man’s futile attempts to ascend to God. The God of the Hebrews, however, crosses the eternal divide and comes to man. The Tent of Meeting reveals God’s redemptive intentions, and they are eternal! Religion is man’s idea, but redemption burns everlastingly in the heart of God. The Tent gives joy.
- The Tent of Meeting forms a link to the historical past when God walks with man in the garden of Eden before sin enters into the story, “They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8). Unbroken intimacy between God and man existed before the Fall. The Fall, however, removed the “Welcome” mat for God from human hearts. God isn’t content, however, with alienation between Himself and the crown of His creation; therefore, He speaks of redemption when He promises a coming Seed and demonstrates its cost when He kills an animal to cover man’s nakedness. The Tent brings sobriety.
- The Tent of Meeting positioned in Israel’s midst provides an anchor for the present by promising a moving people a mobile worship center. It reminds them that the God of Eden is the God of the Hebrews and that the God of both is the God of redemption. The Tent of Meeting illuminates the holiness of God, the seriousness of sin, and God’s way of redemption. The ark of the covenant forms the center of Israel’s hope of redemption. The law lies within the ark/box and both condemns and judges man. The golden lid—called the “mercy seat”—is the covering upon which the high priest sprinkles the blood of the sacrificial ram. There and only there the glory of God descends to meet with man’s representative once a year until Shiloh comes—the ultimate Covering who lays down His life on man’s behalf by taking upon Himself man’s condemnation and judgment. Only the blood of the innocent answers for sin and guilt to reconcile Holy God and unholy man. The Tent gives hope.
- The Tent of Meeting prophecies of the future. It prophesies of a permanent structure for Israel (Solomon’s Temple whose design was based on the Tent of Meeting), of Jesus who “became flesh and dwelt [tabernacled] among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14,) of my body, “Or do you not know that that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19), and finally, of the new heaven and earth seen by the Apostle John, “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Revelation 21:3). The Divine Presence, a living reality. The Tent requires faith and waiting.