“Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you.—Exodus 25:8-9, NLT
Most people who read about the tabernacle may get the idea that the first sanctuary of the Israelites only served as a temporary home for God until Israel could construct a permanent temple. The Bible indicates just the opposite. The temple only lasted for a limited time, but in the New Jerusalem, we will find “no temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple (Revelation 21:22). Furthermore, the original Greek text says that in the New Jerusalem, God will “tabernacle” with the people (Revelation 21:3). Also, John 1:14 says “the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.
The normal way in which God lives with people fits better with the idea of a tabernacle than with that of a temple. A temple remains in a fixed place. To visit it, one has to cross over to another place. In contrast, a tabernacle moves with people.
The God of the Bible is a God for the road. “He who is” accompanies people of faith wherever they go. God builds the temple in their hearts. “Do you not realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?” (I Corinthians 6:19).
The God of Immigrants lives in a mobile home. The most luxurious palace that wealthy people can build on earth does not constitute for God a more desirable residence than the one God wants to build in your own life. Invite God to live in your heart, but understand this truth: God will remodel the place. The changes God will make in your life can cause a lot of pain. But in the end, God will have build a first-class residence, where the two of you can life on the road to your final destination.
Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry. All Rights Reserved. firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is president of Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. He is the author of The New Pilgrims: How Immigrants are Renewing America’s Faith (forthcoming in August 2015, Worthy Publishing). Follow him on Twitter @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.