Tabernacle is one of the most beautiful words in the world to me.
First of all, the four short syllables bubble on the tongue. It is simply lovely to say.
More importantly, its use unfolds in the Bible in a way that still gives me goose bumps when I think of it.
The word tabernacle (Hebrew mishkan) means “booth” or “shelter” or “dwelling place” as in a covering like a tent. The Hebrew word forms the root that can be used as both a noun or a verb.
In Leviticus, Moses records God’s instruction to celebrate the end of the summer harvest by camping in the gleaned fields. Their shelters were, of course, booths or “tabernacles.” By celebrating in this way, the Hebrew children would recall living in tents during the wilderness wanderings, a time they were afraid and their ability to provide from themselves scarce. A time that they were just recently slaves and in bondage, but celebrating, they would also remember God’s great deliverance, so important now when they had their own fields and a harvest and were in most danger of forgetting Him.
“Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths [Tabernacles] to the Lord.” ~ Leviticus 23: 34.
In John, the Beloved sings that the Word became flesh and dwelt [tabernacled] among us. ~John 1: 14.
In his letter to Corinth, Paul wide eyed and filled with wonder burst forth with the exhortation that our bodies are temples [tabernacles] for the Holy Spirit. ~ 1 Corinthians 6: 19.
In Revelation, John joyfully prophesies that after His Second Coming, Jesus will abide on earth and shelter [tabernacle] His people with His presence. ~ Revelation 7:15
This idea of “dwelling” is patently exciting to God, and if you haven’t guessed by now, this post is about the Feast of Tabernacles that just passed by.
I always toy with ideas on how I will celebrate The Feast of Tabernacles. I have sketched out chupa-like arbor for my husband to build so that we can "tabernacle" our evening meals under its shelter. . .remembering God's deliverance, celebrating His provision, and enjoying His Presence, just as God told the Hebrews to do in Leviticus.
But whether I put my good intentions to build the actual physical stucture into practice or not is irrelevant. Somehow i stumbled into the season . . .and under His shelter. . . before i had a chance to write you about it. And that is where i have been this past week, quiet under His wing. Like Christmas, the season, in all its glory comes whether or not we're ready, and the Holy Spirit delights in it.
I think in some way, that Jesus' longing for that Day when He Comes Again is heightened in this season, in much the same way that He said to his disciples about Passover,
“And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.'” ~ Luke 22: 15
The Tabernacle season like the Passover season represents a mark on the Prophetic Timeline that God eagerly anticipates.
See how Jesus reveals Himself as Living Water and Light of the World in John 7 and 8? He stands up in the Temple [tabernacle] on the Feast of Tabernacles and Scripture tells us that He cries out,
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
How can we not be moved by a God who loves us so?