True Tabernacle - Jesus

OVERVIEW - The Gospel of John presents Jesus as the True Tabernacle in whom the glory of God residesJohn 1:14

Small Church Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash
Gospel of John presents Jesus as the place where God dwells, and His glory is manifested for all to see. He is the Greater Tabernacle where true worship of the Father takes place in His presence - “in spirit.” Access to the “glory of the Father” is no longer confined by the physical walls or geographical boundaries of Ancient Israel - [Small Church Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash].

As John’s prologue declares, “The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us; and we beheld his glory; glory as of an only-born from a father; full of grace and truth.” The statement echoes the incident at Mount Sinai when God inscribed His ten “words” on stone tablets. In Jesus, His word “became flesh”; that is, in the flesh-and-blood man from the village of Nazareth.

The “word” “tabernacled among us,” a translation of the Greek verb skénoō - (Strong’s - #G4637). The term means “tabernacle, to pitch a tent.” It is related to the Greek noun skéné for “tent,” which is used in the Greek Septuagint version of the Book of Exodus for the “tabernacle” of Israel constructed during its sojourn in the wilderness. Thus, in the man Christ Jesus, God “dwells” or “tabernacles” among his people. Yahweh had commanded Israel:
  • Construct a sanctuary for me that I may dwell among themaccording to all that I am going to show you, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings” - (Exodus 25:8-9).
  • (Exodus 33:7-11) — “Proceeded to take a tent and pitch it by itself outside the camp…and he called it, the Tent of Meeting…it came to pass that when Moses entered the tent the pillar of cloud came down and stood at the opening of the tent.”
In the Tabernacle, the presence of Yahweh was represented by the pillar of cloud. Just as God revealed His presence among Israel in the Tabernacle, so now He makes His habitation among His people in Jesus, “the word become flesh” - (Exodus 40:34-35, Numbers 9:15-23).

John continued: “We beheld his glory…full of grace and truth.” The statement employs further imagery from Exodus. Moses asked Yahweh to show him his “glory,” but no man, not even Moses, could “can see my face and live.” Therefore, God placed Moses in the “cleft of a rock” when He passed by and permitted him to see only His “backside.” He descended in the cloud and passed before him, proclaiming, “Yahweh, Yahweh, a God of compassion and grace, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and faithfulness” - (Exodus 33:17-23, 34:1-6).
Now, the glory of God is revealed in Jesus. But, unlike Moses, his disciples behold the full glory, not just God’s “backside,” a glory like that of “an only-born from a father,” and a glory that is “full of grace and truth.”

The last statement corresponds to the proclamation that Yahweh is “abundant in loving-kindness and faithfulness.” The glory seen only by Moses alone is now revealed in Jesus for all to see. He is the True and Greater Tabernacle in whom God dwells and through whom He manifests His unfiltered grace and truth to humanity.

With the coming of Jesus, the presence of Yahweh is no longer restricted to the Tabernacle, or to any other man-made structure. No longer is it limited to any geographic location. Jesus is now the ultimate and final place where God dwells and reveals His Truth and Grace - (2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:4-6).

The wilderness Tabernacle was glorious and revealed much about the nature of Yahweh. Nevertheless, its glory was limited and, as it turned out, fleeting. In contrast, the glory found in the True and Greater “Tabernacle,” Jesus is full, visible, and available for all to behold, both now and forever.


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