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Plans for a meeting place with God: Exodus 25–28

The instructions for the tent that would be the holiest place the Israelites were to have for some time, and the place in which they would meet with God, were detailed in terms of the amount of cloth, the dimensions of frames, and the materials that must be used.

But the text leaves out one important thing for anyone who would want to build it now:

Exodus 26:30 Set up this Tabernacle according to the pattern you were shown on the mountain.

We don’t have the pattern – the building plan – that Moses was shown on the mountain.

Various ideas have been suggested for the final result, but they all rely on interpreting the instructions God gave. We still have the instructions, but they were given with a cultural context that we don’t have anymore.

The courtyard plan is much clearer:

Exodus 27:18 So the entire courtyard will be 150 feet long and 75 feet wide, with curtain walls 7 1⁄2 feet high, made from finely woven linen. The bases for the posts will be made of bronze.

It means we shouldn’t be too dogmatic and argue over the meaning of one word or another in developing our view of God. Mostly there is no ambiguity (John 3:16 or Romans 10:9), but elsewhere the scripture is wide open to interpretation (the whole of the Book Revelation).

Examples of some modern interpretations of this sanctuary (or tabernacle) are below. You see the courtyards are the same. It is the tent itself that varies.

Model of the tabernacle, as seen in Israel, Timna Park (from Wikipedia)

Model of the tabernacle, as seen in Israel, Timna Park (from Wikipedia)

Tabernacle model in the wilderness, south of Jericho

Tabernacle model in the wilderness, south of Jericho (From http://bleon1.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/the-tabernacle/)

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