After the fifty-five-year reign of Manasseh, a Judaic king who worshipped false gods, performed human sacrifices, and shed much innocent blood, the God of the Bible resolved to remove Judah from its Promised Land. Although God's hand was temporarily stayed by the Josiah's righteous reign, Josiah's sons returned to the ways of Manasseh, and Judah began a quick descent. Not many years after Josiah's death, Judah's king Jehoiakim came to the throne when the Egyptian pharaoh Necho removed Jehoiakim's brother and predecessor and put Judah to tribute. Jehoiakim paid this tribute by taxing the people of the land. His nation was quite poor--and worse, it was in a crossroads among expanding kingdoms that strove against one another, including the rising kingdom of Babylon, led by its king Nebuchadnezzar.
Amid these times, God sent a prophet named Jeremiah to warn the Jewish nation about what was about to come. One day, God told Jeremiah to go to the Rechabites, a family of nomads who had taken refuge in Jerusalem amid the spreading wars. One can read of their story in Jeremiah 35. God told Jeremiah to bring the Rechabites to the temple and to give them wine to drink--quite an honor. But the Rechabites, although they went to the temple, refused to drink. Years earlier, they had taken this pledge:
We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever: Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers. Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters; Nor to build houses for us to dwell in, neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed: But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. (Jer. 35:6-10; all quotes are from the King James Version)
God, as it turned out, rather than honoring them was testing them. And they passed the test, and for this, God blessed them: "Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever" (Jer. 35:19), he noted. One of the things the Rechabites pledged to their father was that they would not take up a permanent home, that they would remain tent-dwelling pilgrims forever. In this sense, the Rechabites can be seen as a type of God's people in general, and what was asked of them is what God has asked of his own people throughout the history of mankind. Throughout scriptures, God uses tents as a metaphor for man's dwelling and, more specifically, man's dwelling with him.
Not surprisingly, then, some of the first peoples God chose to work with, to build his own family around, were nomads. Indeed, even the very "father of the faithful," Abraham, lived his life in tents. Various scriptures recount his travels, often in conjunction with his setting up of altars in worship of God. "And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el," Genesis 12:8 states, "and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord." Similarly, Genesis 13:18 notes that Abraham "removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the Lord."
That Abraham was a nomad had to do not only with his likely profession as a herder but also to do with a command that God had likely given his own family many years before. Notice that in Genesis 11:31 Terah, Abraham's father, took them "from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there." Haran would have been far north of the land that Israel eventually inherited, up between two arms of the northern Euphrates River, in the modern-day area of the Kurdish people. Terah died there--he didn't complete the journey. So some time after that, God again appeared to Abraham's family--this time to Abraham himself--and commanded, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee" (Gen. 12:1). This Abraham did, and it was "accounted to him for righteousness" (Gal. 3:6), and it is the reason he is called the father of the faithful.
But Abraham's wandering ways did not stop with him. His son and grandson, the latter of whom would eventually bear the name of the nation of Israel, pursued a similar path. Like his father, Isaac too lived in tents and built altars in the various locations where he went, searching out the land. An interesting story in this regard occurs in Genesis 26. Here, Isaac's abundance becomes so overwhelming that there is not room for him among the other settlers. He has to search for a new home. In the process, he ventures to various places his father Abraham had visited. In each place, he digs out wells that the settlers had stopped up. In each place, the herdsmen strive with Isaac's own for the water thereof, and Isaac again has to leave. Finally, he finds a place where he is allowed to settle: "And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land" (Gen. 26:22). Isaac settled in the place God supplied, just as God's followers always look for the home that God provides. And then, like his father, Isaac "builded an alter there, and called upon the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there" (Gen. 26:25).
Jacob, who would become Israel, did similarly. In Genesis 33:18-20, we read that "Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, . . . and pitched his tent before the city." There, also, "he bought a parcel of a field, where he spread his tent," and then "erected there an altar." Of particular note here, however, is the fact that Jacob purchased the land, suggesting a more permanent settling, though the children of Israel wouldn't remain in the territory during Jacob's life or for many years after. But a little over four hundred years later, the children of Israel would return, along with the bones of Jacob's son Joseph, which they would bury in Shechem, a parcel of land that would become "the inheritance of the children of Joseph" (Josh. 24:32). While the ancestors of the children of Israel wandered without home, their children would take up the inheritance, the land, promised to them by God and would become a nation (Gen. 12:7). Abraham's, Isaac's, and Jacob's wanderings--their lives in tents--are thus metaphoric of a spiritual journey that mirrors what God has in mind for all of his people. As the writer of Hebrews notes of Abraham: "By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Heb. 11:9-10).
Several hundred years after Abraham, a few decades before his descendents would enter into that land of promise, God would give to them a set of holy days. A summary of these days is provided in Leviticus 23. Most of the chapter is devoted to explaining when the festivals are to be kept and what is to occur during each of them--for example, eat unleavened bread, offer sacrifices, blow trumpets. The instructions regarding the Feast of Tabernacles here, however, are special. It is one of the few festivals for which an explicit meaning and purpose is provided. Here are the instructions given to Israel:
The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. . . . Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths. (Lev. 23:34-36, 39-42)
Then the author goes on to explain the purpose: "That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God" (Lev. 23:43). As their forefathers dwelt in booths--or temporary dwellings--so too did the children of Israel, and so too do all those who follow God. The Feast of Tabernacles was to remind Israel of this--and to remind Israel of who their God was and of the kind of God they had.
Not surprisingly, the rest of the Bible is replete with images of tents, booths, and tabernacles--of temporary dwellings. These temporary structures are often used as metaphors for the state of mankind--that is, for mankind's impermanence. Hezekiah, for example, when faced with death in Isaiah 38:12, compares his life to a tent: "Mine age is departed," he says, "and is removed from me as a shepherd's tent." In fact, elsewhere in Isaiah, the entire earth is spoken of as a tent--the tent of God--with people simply as passing creatures dwelling within it: "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in" (Isa. 40:22). Here, people are grasshoppers. The author of Psalm 49 compares humans to beasts: "For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. . . . Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them" (v. 10-12, 14).
Elsewhere in the scriptures, God asks the Israelites to do a few other things during the Feast of Tabernacles, and these things, as one would suspect, are not without meaning. First, as noted in Leviticus 23 and re-emphasized in Deuteronomy 16:13-15, God expected his people to rejoice:
Thou shall observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the fatherless and the widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice.
God so wanted his people to rejoice during the festival that it's mentioned twice here. Also of significance is that God wants Israel to keep it in the place he chooses, just as Isaac settled in the place that God chose.
Another thing that Israel was to do during the Feast of Tabernacles is spelled out in Deuteronomy 31:10-13:
At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within they gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.
Every seven years, the people were supposed to hear the law read to them. Without the printing press, and thus without easy access to a copy of the written law for every single person, such reading aloud was essential to educating, reminding, rejuvenating, and reuniting the community. Not surprisingly, such a reading is exactly what Nehemiah performed at the Jew's first Feast of Tabernacles after returning from captivity in Babylon:
And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths. . . . And there was very great gladness. Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. (Neh. 8:14-18)
Given these other purposes--rejoicing and reading the law--along with the emphasis on human transience, it is perhaps easy to see why the Jewish people have a tradition, during the Feast of Tabernacles, of reading the book of Ecclesiastes, a book that meditates on man's impermanence and what it means for all human beings. In that book, Solomon concludes that if physical life is transitory, then the thing for human beings to do is to rejoice in the time that they have, but to remember God all along the way. "But if a man live many years," he says,
and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; . . . Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. (Eccl. 11:8-10, 12:1, 7-8)
Because life passes away, Solomon says, people should enjoy the time that they have, especially that during which they are in good health, just as during those very quickly passing seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles plus one, the children of Israel were to rejoice. At the same time, the children of Israel were, at least every seven years, reminded of the law of God. Here, too, Solomon would agree. Rejoice, he says, but also, "Let us here the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Eccl. 12:13-14). David put it a slightly different way. "Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house," he wrote, "nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob" (Ps. 132:3-5). If, as will become evident later in the New Testament, the body is God's tabernacle, then David gave over his life--that is, by not resting--to making his body ready to be God's home. So too those who follow God should not rest until they have made their own bodies--and lives--an appropriate place for God to dwell in. The Feast of Tabernacles, then, is in part about that process, about growing closer to God during this temporary period that all people have in their physical bodies.
But since God tells Israel to dwell in booths during the Feast in order to remind them of their time dwelling in the wilderness, there are likely other lessons to be learned from Israel's time of wandering. Indeed, 1 Corinthians 10:11 tells us that "all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition." If so, what God did for the people during this time of wandering and what the people themselves did during this time of wandering should be instructive for later people following God.
First among these lessons is that although Israel was confined to the wilderness, God led them as he abode with them. Where and when he went, they followed. God "went in the way before you," Moses tells the children of Israel, as he recounts to them the happenings during their time in the wilderness, "to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to show you by what way you should go, and in a cloud by day" (Deut. 1:33). This fire and cloud, a pillar standing among the Israelites, was what guided them to their various stopping points within the wilderness: "And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle," the book of Numbers recounts,
then after that the children of Israel journeyed, and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents. And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not. And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed. And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed. Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed. At the commandment of the Lord they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed: they kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses. (Num. 9:17-23)
A second thing we learn from Israel's time in the wilderness is that while God camped with them, he protected them. As Deuteronomy 23:14 says, "[T]he Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee." For this reason, the same scripture notes, Israel was to keep the camp "holy." God's protection of the people of Israel during this time can be seen in numerous examples. Indeed, the very pillar of fire and cloud served as, not only a guide, but a means of protection. During Israel's flight from Egypt, the pillar "removed and went behind them [the Israelites]; and the pillar of the cloud went before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night" (Ex. 14:19-20). Egypt could not overtake Israel and recapture its slaves because of the pillar.
Some time later, after Israel was wandering in the wilderness on its way to the Promised Land, God again protected Israel when a certain king named Balak contracted with the soothsayer Balaam to curse the nation. Certainly, such a curse would not have had any effect unless God let it take effect, but God didn't even let Balaam issue the curse. Instead, he told Balaam, "Thou shalt not go with them [the princes of Balak]; thou shall not curse the people [of Israel]: for they are blessed" (Num. 22:12). Balaam went anyway, and thus "God's anger was kindled," and "the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him [Balaam on his journey]. . . . [T]he angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. . . . And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or the left" (Num. 22:22, 24, 26). God blocked Balaam's progress. In the end, Balaam "saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face" (Num. 22:31). Forced to acknowledge God's authority in the matter, Balaam not only failed to curse Israel--he blessed the nation, much to Balak's dismay.
This protection would extend to Israel even after it reached the Promised Land and took up its inheritance. A very encouraging example of such protection occurs in 2 Kings 6, where Syria makes battle against the nation of Israel and at some point "compassed the city both with horses and chariots" (v. 15) where God's prophet Elisha was staying. Elisha's response was simply: "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them" (v. 16). After a prayer, the eyes of Elisha's young servant, who had been worried, were opened "and he saw: and, behold; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha" (v. 17). God, at the bequest of his servant, had sent a heavenly army to defend his people and his prophet.
God's protection of his nation Israel in the wilderness through his camping with them prefigures the protection he offers today to any who fear him. "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them," the writer of Psalm 34:7 notes. Indeed, as is witnessed to in the book of Job, God puts a hedge about those who fear him so that Satan and others who would do them harm cannot touch them (Job 1:9-10). And God promises one day to do the same for his physical nation of Israel once again: "And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more" (Zech. 9:8).
A third thing that can be learned from the children of Israel's dwelling in the wilderness is that while God camped with them, he gave them rest. He did this by seeking out the stopping places for Israel, as recorded, for example, in Numbers 10:33: "[A]nd the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them [the children of Israel] in the three days' journey, to search out a resting place for them." The ultimate resting place--the Promised Land--however, Israel was not able to enter into, as Hebrews 3 notes, "because of unbelief" (v. 19). Rather, Israel would have to wait forty years, would have to pass through a generation, before the people could go in to take the land that God had promised. Still, when that finally happened, it was posited as a type of rest: "And now the Lord your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan" (Josh. 22:4). The tent, now ensconced in the land of promise, becomes a resting place. So too, in Isaac's day, when Isaac finally dug a well for which there was no dispute, God granted him rest. And today, Christ promises the same to those who follow him: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden," he says, "and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).
Camping in booths, however, didn't just extend to the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. God himself spent those forty years wandering with them, setting an example through the setting up of his own tabernacle. That tabernacle, in turn, provides yet other lessons that can be gleaned from temporary dwellings as they appear in scripture. Indeed, the writer of Hebrews goes so far as to say that the tabernacle--and the priestly functions that went with it--serves as a "shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shown to thee in the mount" (Heb. 8:5). If the tabernacle is a shadow of the heavenly, then its importance to one's understanding of God, his nature, and his plan for humankind is significant indeed, and what a wonderful thing it is that God chose to camp with Israel so that all could learn the various lessons that the tabernacle presents.
One of the most obvious purposes of the tabernacle was to establish God's authority over the nation. This can be seen through God's choosing to fill it and in turn choosing to lead Israel from it. The presence of God in the tabernacle is established early on in Exodus, when the tabernacle is first set up: "Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle" (Ex. 40:34-35). What's more, the cloud then became, as noted earlier, the means by which Israel was led in its travels: "And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up" (Ex. 40:36-37).
In turn, God showed his vesture of leadership in particular humans through the use of his tabernacle. First among these leaders was obviously Moses, whose testimony before Pharaoh had helped to lead Israel out of Egypt. In Exodus 33, one reads of "Moses [taking] the tabernacle and pitch[ing] it without the camp, afar off from the camp. . . . And it came to pass," the scripture goes on to say, "that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle" (Ex. 33:7-9). God's allowing Moses to enter the tabernacle--indeed, his very glory blocking others from entering that tabernacle once Moses had done so--showed that God was with Moses, that God had placed Moses in charge. Beyond Moses, God chose out a particular tribe to serve him and the people in worship: "And I, behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the children of Israel: to you they are given as a gift for the Lord, to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation" (Num. 18:6). As servants of God to the rest of the congregation, the Levites were thus told to "pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony" (Num. 1:53), taking up residence closest to God's dwelling as those chosen to lead Israel in religious rites. Later, only priests, of the tribe of Levi, would be allowed to enter the tabernacle, just as earlier only Moses had been allowed.
But not only did God place his religious leaders in special relation to his tabernacle, he also arranged that transfers of power occur there, thus placing once again his stamp on the physical leadership of the congregation: "Behold, thy days approach that thou must die," he told Moses toward the end of his life, "call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. And the Lord appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle" (Deut. 31:14-15). This usage of the pillar of cloud would be applied many years later to document yet another important transfer of power--God's removal from the temporal tabernacle to the more permanent temple, mimicking Israel's own transformation from wandering set of tribes to settled nation of promise. We can read about this transfer in 1 Kings 8: "And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place. . . . And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord" (v. 6, 10-11). Note how this parallels the earlier passage quoted from Exodus 40. It also parallels John's vision of a heavenly temple in Revelation 15: "And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: . . . And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple" (v. 5, 8).
As an extension of its role as a place where God demonstrated his leadership and authority, the tabernacle served a second function as a place of witness and judgment. Indeed, the tabernacle is often called exactly that--the tent or tabernacle of witness (Num. 17:7-8, Acts 7:44) or the tent of testimony (Num. 9:15). And what did the tabernacle testify of? One of the things it testified of was God's judgment. Already noted is how God used the tabernacle--and access to it--as a means to place his stamp of approval on certain leaders. Indeed, this extended even so far down that when God set up judges over the people of the various tribes, he had Moses do so at the door of the tabernacle. Note, first, how God commanded Israel to set up judges and rulers within the tribes: "Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment" (Deut. 16:18). The first time this was done, God told Moses to do it in a particular manner, that God's authorizing of the action would be shown to the people themselves: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and the officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone" (Num. 11:16-17). The door of the tabernacle, then, also became a place from which judgment was rendered. Note, for example, how when the daughters of Zelophehad had a request to make about how the inheritance laws unfairly disinherited men who had no sons, the daughters came and "stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation" (Num. 27:2). From there, Moses took the matter to God to make a final rendering.
The tabernacle testified of other things also. One of the things it testified of was that the children of Israel had been set apart as God's people and, in turn, that members of the tribe of Levi had been set apart as his ministry. "And I will set my tabernacle among you," God says to Israel in Leviticus 26:11-12, "and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people." In another passage, speaking specifically of the sacrifices to be offered at the tabernacle, God puts it this way:
This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God. (Ex. 29:42-46)
As with the daughters of Zelophehad, the door of the tabernacle becomes a place from which testimony is rendered. By God's meeting the children of Israel at the door, he shows that they are his people, and he their God.
It's also quite significant that offerings were given at the door to the tabernacle. Not only did the offering signify God's setting part of Israel, it also testified of God's mercy. Note how in Leviticus 19:21, trespass offerings were given at the door: "And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." Inside that tabernacle was a "mercy seat above upon the ark [placed behind the second veil, within the Holy of Holies, where God "resided"]; and in the ark [was] put the testimony that [God had given them]" (Ex. 25:21). God goes on to note in that same passage, "And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel" (Ex. 25:22).
So God's tabernacle then served as a means of demonstrating his authority and as a means of witnessing to God's setting apart of his leadership and his people, to the judgments and commandments he gave to those people, and to the mercy he rendered them. As an extension of that mercy, the tabernacle served yet a third function as a place of sanctuary, of refuge, as a home, a rest. Indeed, throughout scripture, tents in general are used as stand-ins for homes, as places people withdraw to for privacy. Note how, in the books of the Kings, the people's retreats from battle, debate, or celebration are often recorded as returns to their tents:
On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people. (1 Kings 8:66)
So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. (1 Kings 12:16)
And Judah was put to the worse before Israel; and they fled every man to their tents. (2 Kings 14:12)
In fact, in keeping with this concept of privacy within a tent, Israel was criticized for what it did within its tents, within its private places: "Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord" (Ps. 106:24-25). Earlier, we saw, too, how David called his own home a tabernacle: "Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house" he says, "nor go up into my bed" (Ps. 132:3). Another equating of homes with tents occurs in Proverbs, where we're told that "[t]he house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish" (Prov. 14:11). Even God equates his tabernacle with a home of sorts--not a house, in this case, not a permanent fixture, but an abode that shifts from place to place, just as Israel's place in the wilderness shifted: "Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in," he told David. "For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another" (1 Chron. 17:4-5). His taking on of a permanent temple, then, paralleled Israel's own permanent settling in the Promised Land.
Like a home, God's tabernacle is compared numerous times to a place of refuge or safety. In fact, it is, throughout scripture, called a sanctuary (see, for example, Lev. 19:30, Lev. 26:2, and Num. 8:19). In keeping with this idea of the tabernacle as a safe place, David several times wrote of wishing to be in God's dwelling place in order to avoid his enemies. "One thing have I desired of the Lord," he wrote in Psalm 27, "that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me" (v. 4-5). In another Psalm he wrote similarly, "For thou [God] hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings" (Ps. 61:3-4). David wrote such things for good reason, for in fact God promises to protect those that fear him by placing them within his tent: "Oh how great is thy goodness," David writes elsewhere, "which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues" (Ps. 31:19-20).
The tabernacle-as-home metaphor, however, extends far beyond a literal tent. At many points in scripture, the tabernacle is made to stand in for the larger home of all mankind--the earth, and in fact the whole of God's creation. "The heavens declare the glory of God," Psalm 19 says, "and the firmament showeth his handiwork. . . . In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun" (v. 1, 4). As a physical, temporal realm created by God, the earth and the heavens around it mirror man's own physical, temporal existence in that, while gloriful, they are only here but a moment ("[t]hey shall perish," Psalm 102:26 says). In fact, the heavens surrounding the earth are called God's tabernacle in the book of Job: "Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly. Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?" (Job 36:26-29). But that tabernacle is not the whole of God's domain, for as Isaiah records, "heaven is [God's] throne, and the earth is [God's] footstool" (Isa. 66:1). Thus, when worshippers enter "his tabernacles," here on earth, they merely "worship at his footstool" (Ps. 132:7).
Worship brings us to a fourth thing that we learn from the tabernacle God set up for his children of Israel here on earth, beyond the sense of authority that it presented, the witness and judgment that it made available, and the safety that it offered. God's tabernacle was holy, and as such it required washing and sacrifice to enter. Throughout scripture there are numerous references to cleansing at the door of the tabernacle. The priest, on the Day of Atonement, before he could enter the sanctuary, had to "take . . . two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation" (Lev. 16:7). There, he made "an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins" (Lev. 16:16). Likewise, when people needed to offer a sacrifice because of some kind of uncleanness--leprosy, an issue--they brought the items required, "two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, . . . unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation" for the priest to offer (Lev. 14:22-23, 15:14). The priest was even expected to bathe before entering the tabernacle:
Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the alter to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not." (Ex. 30:18-21)
Not only sacrifices related directly to cleanliness issues, however, were made at the door of the tabernacle, but sacrifices in general. The sacrifices pictured a means of cleaning Israel from its sins. In Leviticus 4, for example, the priests were instructed that if they committed a sin, they were to "bring [a] bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord; and . . . lay [their] hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the Lord" (v. 4). Likewise, if the whole congregation of Israel committed a sin, it was to
offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation. And the elders of the congregation [were to] lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the Lord; and the bullock [was to] be killed before the Lord. And the priest that [was] anointed [was to] bring of the bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation: And the priest . . . [was to] pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering which [was] at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. (Lev. 4:14-18)
Voluntary burnt offerings were also be to given "at the door of the tabernacle" (Lev. 1:3), as were peace offerings (Lev. 3:2).
Beyond offerings, the dedication ceremony that Moses was commanded to hold--and then did hold--for Aaron and his sons involved anointing, washing, and sacrifice, all at the door of the tabernacle:
And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water. And thou shalt take the garments and put upon Aaron the coat and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head and put the holy crown upon the mitre. Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them. And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons. And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock. And thou shalt kill the bullock before the Lord, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. (Ex. 29:4-11, later put into action in Lev. 8:3-15)
In this manner, God showed not only to whom he had given authority but also the kind of behavior that he expected of those to whom he had given authority. He expected his priests to be clean, to be paragons of virtue.
Offerings were not only necessary, however, for entry into the tabernacle. They were also part and parcel of the creation of the tabernacle. In Exodus 25, when God first asked Moses to build the tabernacle, he requested that Moses "[s]peak unto the children of Israel, that they bring [him] an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take [God's] offering. . . . And let them make [God] a sanctuary; that [he] may dwell among them" (v. 2, 8). Beyond that offering, the Israelites were commanded to give another offering, this one of equal value for each man of the tribe:
When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them when thou numberest them. This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the Lord. Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall given an offering unto the Lord. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls. And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. (Ex. 30:12-16)
Later, this ransom would be used to make "the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the veil; . . . hooks for the pillars, . . . sockets to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the brasen altar, and the brasen grate for it, and all the vessels of the altar, And the sockets of the court round about, and the sockets of the court gate, and all the pins of the tabernacle, and all the pins of the court round about" (Ex. 38:27-28, 30-31).
The sacrifice and washing required of those who came to the tabernacle has significance even now to those who seek God's kingdom. If each Israelite was made to pay a ransom of equal value to help build the tabernacle, to make an atonement for himself to escape the "plague," so too each human being owes a ransom that must be paid to escape death, earned by one's sins (Rom. 6:23, 3:23). That ransom, however, was paid by Jesus Christ. The New Testament even goes so far as to call Christ mankind's ransom. "And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant," Matthew 20:27-28 recounts, "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2:5-6, "[w]ho gave himself a ransom for all." That ransom, Peter tells his readers, was not paid for with "corruptible things, as silver and gold . . . But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Pet. 1:18-19). As each Israelite, whether poor or rich, paid the same ransom amount to build the tabernacle, so each human being has had paid for him or her the same amount--Christ's life--for the penalty for the iniquities each person has committed.
Jesus Christ, then, was a sacrifice, like unto the sacrifice that was offered at the door of the tabernacle for Israel's sins that allowed Israel to have dealings with God. So too now Christ's sacrifice allows Christians to have dealings with God, "[f]or through him we . . . have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Eph. 2:18). Yet, as the writer of Hebrews explains, Christ's sacrifice is far superior to the ones offered at the door to the tabernacle by the Israelites, "[f]or it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins" (Heb. 10:4). Unlike the priests, Christ "needeth not daily, as those high priests [of ancient Israel], to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself" (Heb. 7:27). Hence, Christ is the high priest of "a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands. . . . Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:11-14).
Likewise, washing continues to hold significance to those who wish to enter God's spiritual tabernacle. This washing is both metaphorical and physical. On a metaphorical level, it is Christ's sacrifice that does the cleansing, that makes "our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb. 10:22), thus removing sin. But Christians also wash themselves physically as an outward act representing that spiritual cleansing. This act comes in the form of baptism, which in turn allows Christians to receive the Holy Spirit. "Repent," Peter told the early New Testament followers, "and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). Without such washing, Christ noted to Peter, a person can have no part with Christ (John 13:8). As with the priests in the Old Testament, so in the New Testament, those who would enter unto God must be washed before they can do so.
Hence, the old physical tabernacle of ancient Israel becomes a stand-in for the much greater spiritual tabernacle of the New Testament. The old truly was a "shadow of heavenly things," offering all who would come after lessons regarding God's true tabernacle. As Hebrews notes, "the holy places made with hands" are "figures of the true" (Heb. 9:24). In Christ, we have no longer a figure but the reality.
Eventually, however, God would remove himself, and thus his tabernacle, from Israel, and that in itself is yet another lesson from scripture that the tabernacle holds. The reason that God left his tabernacle is that the children of Israel rejected him. They did this through their disobedience to him. This started even with the first generation brought out of Egypt, the generation to whom God gave the tabernacle, the generation with whom God wandered. Again, the writer of Hebrews records the spiritual lesson: "Harden not your hearts, as in the day of provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. . . . Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God[,] . . . lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Heb. 3:8-13).
But if Israel's unbelief proved to be an evil in the wilderness, that unbelief translated into disobedience in the Promised Land itself. Hundreds of years later, the Jewish king Hezekiah would call on the Levites to "sanctify . . . [them]selves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of [their] fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For [their] fathers ha[d] trespassed and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord [their] God, and ha[d] forsaken him, and ha[d] turned way their faces from the habitation of the Lord, and turned their backs" (2 Chron. 29:5-6). Judah's evil doings, its "trespasses," had made the holy place--the temple, God's dwelling place in the nation of Judah--"filthy." Just as cleanliness was necessary to enter the tabernacle in the wilderness, without sacrifice, or the obedience concomitant with it, the children of Israel were "unclean." The job of the priests, the job they'd been failing to do in the land of Israel and Judah, was to "separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile [God's] tabernacle that is among them" when they trespassed (Lev. 15:31). As a result of that "defil[ing of the] sanctuary with all [their] detestable things, and with all [their] abominations, . . . [God] also diminish[ed them]" (Ezek. 5:11). The ten northern tribes of Israel were removed from the holy land by Assyria, the nation of Judah by Babylon (before eventually being scattered).
God's punishment consisted not just in allowing his people to be taken into captivity. More important, it consisted in his rejection of his people, of his dwelling with his nation. In Psalm 78, one reads of God's forsaking of his tabernacle: the children of Israel "provoked him to an anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images. When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel: So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men: And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand. He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance. . . . Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph" (Ps. 78:58-62, 67). This taking away of God's tabernacle, or dwelling place, meant in part God removing his temple and all the worship associated with it, as recorded in the book of mourning written after Judah's descent into captivity, Lamentations: "And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle . . . he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the Lord hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest. The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary" (Lam. 2:6-7). After all, if people of Israel were not going to treat God's tabernacle with the care it was due, why would God want to preserve it? And with God no longer acting as the protector of his sanctuary and thus of his people, Israel's own homes--their tents and dwellings--also became subject to destruction: "Destruction upon destruction," Jeremiah records, "is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment" (Jer. 4:20).
But God, being merciful, also promised not to leave the more steadfast Jewish peoples forever cut off. Rather, he promised to redeem them, and this he did. This redemption, interestingly came in the form of dwelling in tents. "I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt," Hosea records, "will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast" (Hos. 12:9). And indeed, one of first actions Judah took on its return to the Promised Land was to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, an experience, already discussed in the context of the reading of the law, that is recorded in Nehemiah 8. There, we learn, in fact, that "since the days of the Jeshua the son of Nun" the children of Israel had not actually kept the Feast in the full manner that God had proscribed (Neh. 8:17). When God told his people he would eventually make them dwell in tabernacles, as at the Feast, he meant so quite literally, for the people had never fully complied with what he'd commanded in the first place. The scripture in Hosea referenced earlier, however, is not primarily about Judah. Rather, it is about Ephraim--or in other words the tribes of Israel who are not Judah and who did not return from captivity--so the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy is yet future.
That future is made possible by another event that tabernacles prefigure--Christ's physical dwelling with men. Even as God dwelled with Israel at his tabernacle while they wandered through the wilderness, and then later in his temple during the latter years in which they lived in the Promised Land, even so God dwelt among his people Judah--and indeed all mankind--through the sending of his Son, the Word: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt 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). Christ's coming was a partial fulfilling of the prophecy rendered in Isaiah 40:5, which says that "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed." (That he came first to the same nation God had always dwelt with is established in Matthew 15:24, when Jesus says that he was "not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Later, Jesus, through his disciples, would expand this commission to all peoples when he told them to "[g]o . . . therefore, and teach all nations" [Matt. 28:19].) This same Word who was made flesh was in fact God, the one who did the creating of the universe, as is established in Colossians 1, where we learn that the Son "is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in the world, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist" (v. 15-17). Hence, we have Christ's statement, "[H]e that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9)--that is, has seen God.
Yet another type of the tabernacle revolves around Jesus's own birth, for it was inside a single person that Christ's dwelling first took root. "[T]hou hast found favor with God," Mary, Jesus's mother, was told, "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. . . . The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:30-32, 35). Who else could sit on David's throne save the Lord himself, as established in prophecy? In Isaiah 9:6-7, we learn that one who would be called "Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" would sit "upon the throne of David." Micah 4:7 makes explicit that "the Lord shall reign over them [the nations] in mount Zion," in Jerusalem. So Mary, as a pregnant woman, had God himself dwelling within her, tabernacling with her, for nine months--and this through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is also the means through which God dwells with his contemporary followers, and thus the Holy Spirit being within those who make up his spiritual Church is yet another type of the tabernacle metaphor stretching back all the way to the Old Testament. Indeed, even in the Old Testament, God promised to dwell with his people if they obeyed. Note what God told Solomon after the building of the temple: "Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel" (1 Kings 6:12-13). But Israel disobeyed, with the corresponding result that God rejected them, a lesson for all of God's people who would come later, as summarized in 1 Corinthians 10:
[A]ll our fathers were under the cloud, and all pass through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. (v. 1-10)
Israel's disobedience and the founding of Christ's modern church meant that God made a break from the temple/tabernacle system that had been set up in the Old Testament. No longer was a physical building toward which people could worship of significance. Such things, as we learn in Acts 7, were only a type:
Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion he had seen. Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool; what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (v. 44-49)
Indeed, even Solomon acknowledged, when building the temple, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?" (1 Kings 8:27). And Christ, while on earth, told one woman that "the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. . . . But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth" (John 4:21, 23). When Israel rejected Christ, it rejected God's tabernacling with men, and Christ moved "without the camp," as the writer of Hebrews tells the New Testament followers: "For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come" (Heb. 13:9-14). So believers of Christ, then, moved away from a physical building established in a physical city toward Jesus Christ himself.
Thus the temple or tabernacle became the believers themselves--Christ's church--rather than a building. This too was established in prophecy in the Old Testament. Amos 9:11 notes that God "will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and . . . will raise up his ruins, and . . . will build it as in the days of old," and Acts 15:16-17, where this scripture is quoted, establishes that this prophecy was fulfilled, at least in part, by the New Testament church and the calling of the Gentiles. Indeed, numerous scriptures reference the church as God's temple. "[F]or you are the temple of the living God," Paul notes to the Corinthian brethren in his second epistle to them, "as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (2 Cor. 6:17).
This growth of the people into God's temple is made possible through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as made plain in 1 Corinthians 3:16: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" And who is allowed to be a part of that temple? The answer remains the same as throughout human history: "Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved" (Ps. 15). It is the righteous, the ones who follow the "light and [the] truth" until they bring themselves "unto the holy hill, and to [God's] tabernacles" (Ps. 43:3). That light and truth, as is noted in John, is Jesus Christ himself. "I am the light of the world," Christ said, "he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). Elsewhere, Christ noted, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). And it is Jesus Christ that founded the church (Matt. 16:18) and who calls people to his house in his mercy and in order that they might fear him. "I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy," David notes, "and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple" (Ps. 5:7). God's mercy is shown in the type of people he calls:
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many might, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Cor. 1:26-31)
Just as Israel was not chosen for its own works or its own greatness, so to the followers of Christ's contemporary church were not chosen for theirs. As Paul notes of Abraham, "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God" (Rom. 4:2); rather, God "imputeth righteousness without works" on those who "believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly," and their "faith is counted for righteousness" (Rom. 4:6, 5). Israel fell through its unbelief, which in turn spurred disobedience and unrighteousness; so Christ went without the camp and gathered a new set of people--many not initially called (Luke 14:16-24)--and created a temple anew, a temple that God says is to be even more gloriful. This is noted in a prophecy in Haggai: "And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill thing house with glory. . . . The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former" (Hag. 2:7, 9). The writer of Hebrews notes that Christ's church is indeed this more gloriful temple:
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Heb. 3:1-6)
One of the things that make this temple more gloriful has already been alluded to--rather than consisting of a single people, it ultimately encompasses all of humanity. Paul makes this wider inclusion of the temple explicit in Ephesians 2: "Now therefore ye [circumcised and uncircumcised] are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Eph. 2:19-22). As with the greater glory of the temple, this enlarging of it was also prophesied in the Old Testament: "Enlarge the place of thy tent," Isaiah wrote, "and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles. . . . The God of the whole earth shall he [the Lord of hosts, the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel] be called" (Isa. 54:2-3, 5). The Gentiles were to be "grafted in" among the Israelites (Rom. 11:17), and all who follow God were eventually to be called "the children of Abraham" (Gal. 3:7). Thus, no longer was the temple--and God's dwelling with men--reserved solely for one nation but for all nations. "I will call them my people, which were not my people, and her beloved, which was not beloved," Paul, quoting Isaiah, writes of the Gentiles (Rom. 9:25). He is now the God not of the Jews only but also of the Gentiles (Rom. 3:29).
But that dwelling place is not simply the body of believers as a whole--it is each believer in particular. Through his Spirit, each person individually becomes a tabernacle of God. Christ, when he introduced the Spirit, expressed it in terms of God making a home in a person: "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. . . . At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. . . . If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him" (John 14:15-18, 20, 23). That home building involved, before everything else, the person loving Christ and thus keeping the commandments. In turn, that love and law keeping allows Christ--and his Father--to enter into that person to dwell, through the Holy Spirit. Thus the body itself becomes a tabernacle or dwelling place. Peter uses this same metaphor explicitly in his second letter: "Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shown me" (2 Pet. 1:13-14). As Peter notes here, our tabernacle--our body--is a temporal one. Like God, who dwelt in a tabernacle in the wilderness with Israel, awaiting a permanent home in his temple once Israel reached the Promised Land, Christians too dwell in a temporal body in the wilderness of this world as they await a new permanent body to be given at the time that they inherit the Kingdom of God. Paul writes of this in 2 Corinthians:
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted by him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Cor. 4:18-5:10).
And just as Christians wait for a more permanent body, God, who dwells in them through his Spirit, also waits to make his dwelling in them permanent. In fact, he waits to make his dwelling with all mankind permanent. Revelation 21:2-3, speaking of a future time, through John's vision of it, states this explicitly: "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." This description of God's tabernacle comes at the end of Revelation. Note how earlier in that same book the tabernacle is described as being in heaven--that is, not among men: "[B]ehold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened" (Rev. 15:5). So in the end of time God brings his dwelling place down to where men are and dwells among them. This is also expressed in Zechariah: "Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee" (Zech. 2:10-11).
The scripture in Zechariah, however, is alluding to yet another event that in fact precedes some of those already described. The tabernacle, as has already been noted, on some level, represents God's church, as does the temple. And these also represent what that church is to become. But the tabernacle also represents a time in which God will redeem what's left of mankind for one thousand years preceding his redemption of all of mankind. God's tabernacle is as Christ described his kingdom in Matthew 13:31-32: "The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." The kingdom--indeed God's dwelling place with men--starts small and grows, by increments, larger.
This was, in fact, God's intention with the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. It was to be an example to other nations, which in turn other nations would emulate. Note what Israel's King Solomon stated at the dedication of the first temple: "Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake; (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house; Hear thou in heaven thy dwellingplace, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel" (1 Kings 8:41-43). For a very short period of time, under Solomon, that is just what happened: "And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom" (1 Kings 4:34). In the book of Proverbs, one gets a sense of what Solomon's wisdom was--it was not a wisdom that was based on humanistic reason. Rather, Solomon, early on in the book, states explicitly that "[t]he fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Prov. 1:7). Solomon's wisdom was Godly wisdom.
But Israel did not remain faithful to God, and in deserting his way, it failed to provide an example to other nations. God could not grow an earth-encompassing kingdom through a physical nation that, by refusing to obey him, refused to bear his name. After all, what power or significance has a ruler whose people do not follow his laws? So instead Christ set up a church--a small and scattered one--that in fact did accept God as its supreme ruler and that, in turn, as it expanded following Christ's death, would accept people of all nations. As this church expanded to accept all believers, including Gentiles, this church will also expand to include the vast majority of peoples during the millennial rule of Jesus Christ--and then expand again to include all peoples who have ever lived following the millennium and the second resurrection. From a mustard seed, as Christ noted, to a great tree.
This expansion of the kingdom of God during the millennium will begin much as it did in the Old Testament, with God dealing first with Israel, who is to set an example for all other peoples (Zech. 8:23). The first stage in this process, of course, will be the restoration of the peoples of Israel. "Behold," God notes in Jeremiah 30:18-22,
I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them. And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the Lord. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
At this time God will also reset up his tabernacle in Israel, as recounted in Ezekiel 37:26-28: "Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore." And unlike most of the days of old, when ancient Israel failed to keep God's holy days, including his Feast of Tabernacles, in the millennium, the nation will finally celebrate it as God intended. As I have already alluded to earlier, Hosea recounts this when he writes to Ephraim--a stand-in for the northern ten tribes of Israel--"And I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast" (Hos. 12:9). Finally, God will insist that all peoples come up to keep the Feast: "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. . . . [and] there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles" (Zech. 14:16-18).
But as in the Old Testament, when Israel, after dwelling in the Promised Land for some time, set up a temple in place of a tabernacle for God to show the permanence of his--and Israel's--dwelling, God's dwelling with men in the millennium will again be represented by a temple. This time, God will not leave his people--and his people will not depart from his ways. God's tabernacle will become permanent. "Look upon Zion," Isaiah notes of this time, "the city of our solemnities: thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams" (Isa. 33:20-21). Indeed, this tabernacle will become a new temple, as Ezekiel describes it: "In the visions of God he brought me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south. . . . Afterward he brought me to the temple, and measured the posts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other side, which was the breadth of the tabernacle" (Ezek. 40:2, 41:1). And as with the first temple in the days of Israel, God's glory in the temple will be evident: "And the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house" (Ezek. 43:4-5).
With God dwelling "in the midst of the children of Israel" (Ezek. 43:7)--indeed, on earth, in the midst of humankind, the vast majority of whom will follow his will--the earth in the millennium will finally be a place of peace and of safety. As in the ancient days, God's tabernacle will again serve as a place of refuge. Note what Isaiah says of the day in which "the branch of the Lord [Jesus Christ] be beautiful and glorious" and the "filth of the daughters of Zion" be "washed away" (Isa. 4:2, 4): "And the Lord will create upon every dwellingplace of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain" (Isa. 4:5-6). Also at that time, people will take up "sure dwellings"--solid, permanent structures. "And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation," the book of Isaiah notes, "and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places" (Isa. 32:18).
Abraham and Isaac wandered about in tents in a land that they would only in a faraway future actually inherit; likewise, Christians wander an earth that they one day also will inherit. While it's true that what the followers of God inherit is something much greater than a physical land, they also, quite literally, during the millennium, inherit the land. They take on a physical home in a place that previously denied them full citizenship because of their citizenship in another kingdom--the kingdom of heaven. "My kingdom is not of this world," Christ told Pilate; "if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight . . . but now my kingdom is not from thence" [John 18:36]. But in the millennium, once Christ reigns, and "[t]he kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord" (Rev. 11:15), then all who have a part in that kingdom of the Lord will have a part in the new kingdom of that world. "[W]e shall reign on the earth," John writes in Revelation 5:10, of those whom Christ has redeemed. And Christ himself stated the same when he said, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5).
This millennial usage of the tabernacle brings us to a final meaning of the tabernacle in scripture, a meaning that declares how such peace can--and ultimately will--be achieved, a meaning that at its heart is also a warning. If, as scriptures note, the body is a type of tabernacle or tent--simply an impermanent dwelling that people will one day put off--then those who fail to find a new and permanent dwelling place will pass away. Revelation 21 notes that "the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. . . . And there shall in no wise enter into it [the new Jerusalem] any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie" (v. 8, 27). Those who fail to obey God's laws, who do not trust God, will not enter into the kingdom that God will set up. They will die. As Psalm 69:25 notes, the hateful will not "dwell in their tents"--their bodies. "The dwellingplace of the wicked shall come to nought," Job 8:22 tells us. Their bodies will waste away, as will all their hopes. "This is the portion of a wicked man with God," Job goes on to say, "and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty. . . . Those that remain with him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep. Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay; He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver. He buildeth his house as a moth" (Job 27:13, 15-18). Whatever physical things the person has managed to keep will pass to those who remain, if such things survive at all.
Jesus, knowing this, warned a man in Luke 12, who wanted Christ to rule that the man's brother had to split his inheritance with him. The man, moved by greed, was focusing on the wrong things, the things that would not last. "[B]eware of covetousness," Christ told him, "for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of things which he possesseth" (v. 15). Christ went on to tell the man this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?" (Luke 12:16-20). Because the physical bodies we have pass away--as does anything we obtain in this life--our focus then needs to be on cleaning our dwelling places of sin: "[L]et not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles," Job 11:14 notes.
Rather, like David, humans need to look to God for a permanent dwelling, rather than focusing on the physical one that they have now. "Lord," David wrote in Psalm 26:8-12, "I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth. Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men: In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes. But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me. My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the Lord." Because the tabernacles human beings have now are temporal, better, as David notes in Psalm 84, is any tabernacle--and any role a human may play within that tabernacle--in which God dwells:
How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yeah, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah. Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
A final, all important lesson of the tabernacle as it appears in scripture then, is the same lesson in which this work began: the ultimate destiny of all mankind, for each and every one of us, God's purpose, is to make his tabernacle our home. Thus, we need to avoid placing the physical homes we have today--our bodies, our physical possessions, our physical desires--at the pinnacle of our strivings and goals; instead, like the Rechabites, our focus should be on pleasing our father. If we do this, God will make his abode with us, will protect us, will sustain us, will immortalize us. We will be in him, he in us. And like Abraham, the very father of the faithful, who, like the Rechabites, wandered about the wilderness in this life, we will find blessings everlasting in "a better country, that is, an heavenly" country, in the future that stretches into forever (Heb. 11:16).
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慶瑳牡⁴‽畦汬氮獡䥴摮硥晏猨瑩⥥晩⠠瑳牡⁴㴽ⴠ⤱爠瑥牵慦獬㭥猊慴瑲㴠映汵慬瑳湉敤佸⡦影慰慲⥭晩⠠瑳牡⁴㴽ⴠ⤱爠瑥牵慦獬㭥猊慴瑲⬠‽影慰慲敬杮桴慶湥‽畦汬椮摮硥晏✨✦瑳牡⥴晩⠠湥㴽ⴠ⤱攠摮㴠映汵敬杮桴敲畴湲甠敮捳灡⡥畦汬献扵瑳楲杮猨慴瑲湥⥤⸩灳楬⡴•⤢樮楯⡮⬢⤢畦据楴湯朠湥牥瑡䡥敲⡦瑡条整灭慬整笩愊慴牨晥琽浥汰瑡敲汰捡⡥弧奍剕彌Ⱗ眠湩潤潬慣楴湯栮敲敲汰捡⡥栧瑴㩰⼯Ⱗ✠⤧⸩敲汰捡⡥弧奍䥔䱔彅Ⱗ䌧敨正㈥漰瑵㈥琰楨╳〲牔灩摯㈥䴰浥敢╲〲楳整✡㬩ਠ慶祬潣彳摡㴠䄠牲祡⤨慶祬潣彳湯潬摡瑟浩牥慶浣牟汯‽氢癩≥慶浣桟獯⁴‽琢楲潰祬潣潣≭慶浣瑟硡摩㴠∠洯浥敢敲扭摥敤≤慶牴灩摯浟浥敢彲慮敭㴠∠慴敢湲捡敬潳杦摯㬢瘊牡琠楲潰彤敭扭牥灟条‽琢扡牥慮汣獥景潧⽤慔敢湲捡敬瑨汭㬢瘊牡琠楲潰彤慲楴杮彳慨桳㴠∠㔱㌵㌶ㄳ㌰携㔰㔲㜴㈷㐳㐳慣ㄴ〳ㄲ㔰㉥搷攳㍣∱瘊牡氠捹獯慟彤慣整潧祲㴠渠汵㭬ਊ慶祬潣彳摡牟浥瑯彥摡牤㴠∠㠱㈮㘰ㄮ㠶㘮∵慶祬潣彳摡睟睷獟牥敶‽眢睷琮楲潰祬潣潣≭慶祬潣彳摡瑟慲正獟慭汬㴠∠瑨灴⼺洯浥敢獲琮楲潰潣⽭摡⽭浩⽧潣浭湯漯彴浳污晬慲敭朮晩爿湡㵤㤱ㄶ㠰㬢瘊牡氠捹獯慟彤牴捡彫敳癲摥㴠∠瑨灴⼺洯浥敢獲琮楲潰潣⽭摡⽭浩⽧潣浭湯漯彴摡敳癲摥朮晩爿湡㵤㤱ㄶ㠰㬢瘊牡氠捹獯獟慥捲彨畱牥⁹‽敧兴敵祲⤨⼼捳楲瑰ਾ㰊捳楲瑰琠灹㵥琢硥⽴慪慶捳楲瑰•牳㵣栢瑴㩰⼯捳楲瑰祬潣潣⽭慣浴湡椯楮獪㸢⼼捳楲瑰ਾ㰊捳楲瑰琠灹㵥琧硥⽴慪慶捳楲瑰㸧 慶潧杯敬慴‽潧杯敬慴籼笠㭽 潧杯敬慴浣‽潧杯敬慴浣籼嬠㭝 昨湵瑣潩⡮ †瘠牡朠摡‽潤畣敭瑮挮敲瑡䕥敬敭瑮✨捳楲瑰⤧†朠摡獡湹‽牴敵†朠摡祴数㴠✠整瑸樯癡獡牣灩❴†瘠牡甠敳卓⁌‽栧瑴獰✺㴠‽潤畣敭瑮氮捯瑡潩牰瑯捯汯†朠摡牳‽用敳卓⁌‿栧瑴獰✺㨠✠瑨灴✺ ਫ††✠⼯睷潧杯敬慴獧牥楶散潣⽭慴⽧獪术瑰樮❳†瘠牡渠摯‽潤畣敭瑮朮瑥汅浥湥獴祂慔乧浡⡥猧牣灩❴嬩崰†渠摯慰敲瑮潎敤椮獮牥䉴晥牯⡥慧獤潮敤㬩 ⥽⤨⼼捳楲瑰ਾ㰊捳楲瑰琠灹㵥琧硥⽴慪慶捳楲瑰㸧 潧杯敬慴浣異桳昨湵瑣潩⡮ †朠潯汧瑥条搮晥湩卥潬⡴⼧㔹㘹㔳㘹启䥒㍟〰㉘〵摟灦Ⱗ嬠〳ⰰ㈠〵ⱝ✠楤灧摡ㄭ㔴㈰㐰㔱ㄹ㘲〭⤧愮摤敓癲捩⡥潧杯敬慴異慢獤⤨㬩 †潧杯敬慴敤楦敮汓瑯✨㤯㤵㌶㤵⼶剔彉扡癯彥㈷砸〹摟灦Ⱗ嬠㈷ⰸ㤠崰搧癩札瑰愭ⵤ㐱〵〲ㄴ㤵㈱ⴶ✱⸩摡卤牥楶散木潯汧瑥条瀮扵摡⡳⤩†朠潯汧瑥条搮晥湩卥潬⡴⼧㔹㘹㔳㘹启䥒扟汥睯㝟㠲㥸弰晤❰㝛㠲〹ⱝ✠楤灧摡ㄭ㔴㈰㐰㔱ㄹ㘲㈭⤧愮摤敓癲捩⡥潧杯敬慴異慢獤⤨㬩 †潧杯敬慴異慢獤⤨攮慮汢卥湩汧剥煥敵瑳⤨†朠潯汧瑥条攮慮汢卥牥楶散⡳㬩 ⥽⼼捳楲瑰ਾਊ猼牣灩⁴祴数∽整瑸樯癡獡牣灩≴‾⠊畦据楴湯椨噳††晩 椡噳⤠ †笠 †††爠瑥牵㭮 †素 †瘠牡愠䵤牧㴠渠睥䄠䵤湡条牥⤨††慶祬潣彳牰摯獟瑥㴠愠䵤牧挮潨獯健潲畤瑣敓⡴㬩 †瘠牡猠潬獴㴠嬠氢慥敤扲慯摲Ⱒ∠敬摡牥潢牡㉤Ⱒ∠潴汯慢彲浩条≥琢潯扬牡瑟硥≴猢慭汬潢≸琢灯灟潲潭Ⱒ∠潦瑯牥∲猢楬敤≲㭝 †瘠牡愠䍤瑡㴠琠楨祬潣彳摡损瑡来牯㭹 †愠䵤牧献瑥潆捲摥慐慲⡭瀧条❥愨䍤瑡☠…摡慃浤穯 ‿摡慃浤穯㨠✠敭扭牥⤧††晩⠠桴獩氮捹獯獟慥捲彨畱牥⥹ †笠 †††愠䵤牧献瑥潆捲摥慐慲⡭欢祥潷摲Ⱒ琠楨祬潣彳敳牡档煟敵祲㬩 †素ਠ††汥敳椠⡦摡慃⁴☦愠䍤瑡昮湩彤桷瑡††††††摡杍敳䙴牯散偤牡浡✨敫睹牯❤摡慃楦摮睟慨⥴†††† †映牯⠠慶湩猠潬獴††††††慶汳瑯㴠猠潬獴獛㭝 †††椠愨䵤牧椮即潬䅴慶汩扡敬猨潬⥴††††††††††桴獩氮捹獯慟孤汳瑯⁝‽摡杍敧却潬⡴汳瑯㬩 †††素 †素ਊ††摡杍敲摮牥效摡牥⤨††摡杍敲摮牥潆瑯牥⤨⡽昨湵瑣潩⡮ 瘊牡眠㴠〠‽ⰰ洠湩浩浵桔敲桳汯‽〳㬰ਊ晩⠠潴⁰㴽猠汥⥦笊 †爠瑥牵牴敵晩⠠祴数景眨湩潤湩敮坲摩桴 㴽✠畮扭牥‧††⁷‽楷摮睯椮湮牥楗瑤㭨 †栠㴠眠湩潤湩敮䡲楥桧㭴紊攊獬晩⠠潤畣敭瑮搮捯浵湥䕴敬敭瑮☠…搨捯浵湥潤畣敭瑮汅浥湥汣敩瑮楗瑤籼搠捯浵湥潤畣敭瑮汅浥湥汣敩瑮效杩瑨⤩笊 †眠㴠搠捯浵湥潤畣敭瑮汅浥湥汣敩瑮楗瑤㭨 †栠㴠搠捯浵湥潤畣敭瑮汅浥湥汣敩瑮效杩瑨汥敳椠搨捯浵湥潢祤☠…搨捯浵湥潢祤挮楬湥坴摩桴簠⁼潤畣敭瑮戮摯汣敩瑮效杩瑨⤩笊 †眠㴠搠捯浵湥潢祤挮楬湥坴摩桴††‽潤畣敭瑮戮摯汣敩瑮效杩瑨敲畴湲⠠眨㸠洠湩浩浵桔敲桳汯⥤☠…栨㸠洠湩浩浵桔敲桳汯⥤㬩紊⤨⤩㬩ਊਊ眊湩潤湯潬摡㴠映湵瑣潩⡮††慶‽潤畣敭瑮朮瑥汅浥湥䉴䥹⡤䘢潯整䅲≤㬩 †瘠牡戠㴠搠捯浵湥敧䕴敬敭瑮䉳呹条慎敭∨潢祤⤢せ㭝 †戠愮灰湥䍤楨摬昨㬩 †映献祴敬搮獩汰祡㴠∠汢捯≫††潤畣敭瑮朮瑥汅浥湥䉴䥹⡤氧捹獯潆瑯牥摁䙩慲敭⤧献捲㴠✠愯浤愯⽤潦瑯牥摁椮牦浡瑨汭㬧 †ਠਊ†† †⼠ 佄⁍湉摁 †⠠畦据楴湯椨味敲汬硩††††††慶‽潤畣敭瑮挮敲瑡䕥敬敭瑮✨晩慲敭⤧††††瑳汹潢摲牥㴠✠✰††††瑳汹慭杲湩㴠〠††††瑳汹楤灳慬⁹‽戧潬正㬧 †††攠献祴敬挮獳汆慯⁴‽爧杩瑨㬧 †††攠献祴敬栮楥桧⁴‽㈧㐵硰㬧 †††攠献祴敬漮敶晲潬⁷‽栧摩敤❮††††瑳汹慰摤湩‽㬰 †††攠献祴敬眮摩桴㴠✠〳瀰❸ਊ††††慶獩求歯摥祂潄慭湩㴠映湵瑣潩⡮栠敲††††††††††慶汢捯敫䑤浯楡獮㴠嬠 †††††††∠湡湡慹潰湲㌱〰⸰牴灩摯挮浯Ⱒ †††††††∠硸灸牯确硸琮楲潰潣≭ †††††崠††††††慶汦条㴠映污敳†††††† †††††映牯 慶㵩㬰椠戼潬正摥潄慭湩敬杮桴※⭩††††††††††††††晩 牨晥献慥捲⡨戠潬正摥潄慭湩孳椠崠⤠㸠‽‰††††††††††††††††††汦条㴠琠畲㭥 †††††††素 †††††素 †††††爠瑥牵汦条†††† †††瘠牡朠瑥敍慴潃瑮湥⁴‽畦据楴湯 敭慴慎敭⤠ †††笠 †††††瘠牡洠瑥獡㴠搠捯浵湥敧䕴敬敭瑮䉳呹条慎敭✨敭慴⤧††††††潦椨〽※㱩敭慴敬杮桴※⭩⤫ †††††笠ਠ††††††††晩 敭慴孳嵩朮瑥瑁牴扩瑵⡥渢浡≥ 㴽洠瑥乡浡††††††††⁻ †††††††††爠瑥牵敭慴孳嵩朮瑥瑁牴扩瑵⡥挢湯整瑮⤢※ †††††††素ਠ††††††††††††敲畴湲映污敳†††††††† †††瘠牡朠瑥潃浭湥乴摯獥㴠映湵瑣潩⡮敲敧偸瑡整湲††††††††††慶潮敤‽絻††††††慶潮敤䅳㴠嬠㭝 †††††瘠牡瀠敲敦牲摥潎敤䱳獩⁴‽❛❡挧Ⱗ✠❢㭝 †††ਠ††††††昨湵瑣潩敧乴摯獥桔瑡慈敶潃浭湥獴渨慰瑴牥⥮ †††††笠 †††††††椠渨栮獡桃汩乤摯獥⤨††††††††††††††††††晩⠠慴乧浡㴽‽䤧剆䵁❅††††††††††††††††††††††敲畴湲映污敳††††††††††††††††††††潦瘨牡椠㴠〠※‼档汩乤摯獥氮湥瑧㭨椠⬫††††††††††††††††††††††晩⠠渨挮楨摬潎敤孳嵩渮摯呥灹㴽‽⤸☠…瀨瑡整湲琮獥⡴档汩乤摯獥楛潮敤慖畬⥥⤩ †††††††††††笠 †††††††††††††瘠牡愠敲乡浡‽慰瑴牥硥捥渨挮楨摬潎敤孳嵩渮摯噥污敵嬩崱††††††††††††††潮敤孳牡慥慎敭⁝‽㭮 †††††††††††素 †††††††††††攠獬晩⠠档汩乤摯獥楛潮敤祔数㴠㴽ㄠ††††††††††††††††††††††††††敧乴摯獥桔瑡慈敶潃浭湥獴渨挮楨摬潎敤孳嵩慰瑴牥⥮††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††⡽潤畣敭瑮戮摯ⱹ爠来硥慐瑴牥⥮㬩ਊ††††††潦瘨牡椠椠牰晥牥敲乤摯獥楌瑳††††††††††††††晩⠠潮敤孳牰晥牥敲乤摯獥楌瑳楛嵝††††††††††††††††††晩 獩牔汥楬⁸☦渠摯獥灛敲敦牲摥潎敤䱳獩孴嵩慰敲瑮潎敤瀮牡湥乴摯慰敲瑮潎敤瀮牡湥乴摯††††††††††††††††††††††潮敤䅳瀮獵⡨潮敤孳牰晥牥敲乤摯獥楌瑳楛嵝瀮牡湥乴摯慰敲瑮潎敤瀮牡湥乴摯慰敲瑮潎敤㬩 †††††††††素 †††††††††攠獬††††††††††††††††††††††潮敤䅳瀮獵⡨渠摯獥灛敲敦牲摥潎敤䱳獩孴嵩⁝㬩 †††††††††素 †††††††素 †††††素 †††††爠瑥牵潮敤䅳†††††††† †††ਠ††††慶牰灯牥潎敤㴠渠汵㭬 †††瘠牡愠敲乡摯獥㴠朠瑥潃浭湥乴摯獥 敮⁷敒䕧灸 帧牡慥吠灹㵥愢敲彡尨睜⤫✢⤠⤠ †††映牯⠠慶‽㬰椠㰠愠敲乡摯獥氮湥瑧㭨椠⬫††††††††††慶‽慰獲䥥瑮木瑥潃灭瑵摥瑓汹⡥牡慥潎敤孳嵩⸩楷瑤⥨††††††晩⠠愨㸠‽〳⤰☠…愨㰠‽〴⤰††††††††††††††牰灯牥潎敤㴠愠敲乡摯獥楛㭝 †††††††戠敲歡††††††††††ਊ††††慶牰灯牥祴慎敭㴠朠瑥敍慴潃瑮湥⡴瀢潲数瑲≹ 籼映污敳††††晩 獩牔汥楬⁸☦⠠牰灯牥潎敤 ††††††††††牳‽⼧摡⽭摡椯橮捥䅴晩慲敭栮浴❬††††††牰灯牥潎敤椮獮牥䉴晥牯⡥ⱥ瀠潲数乲摯楦獲䍴楨摬㬩 †††素 †††攠獬晩 獩牔汥楬⁸☦℠ 牰灯牥潎敤⤠⤠⼠ 汓灡琠敨愠癥湥桴畯桧⁴桴牥獩渠污捯瑡摥猠潬ੴ††††††††††牳‽⼧摡⽭摡椯橮捥䅴晩慲敭栮浴❬††††††瑳汹獣䙳潬瑡㴠✠潮敮㬧 †††††瘠牡挠楤⁶‽潤畣敭瑮挮敲瑡䕥敬敭瑮✨楤❶㬩 †††††挠楤瑳汹‽眢摩桴㌺〰硰活牡楧㩮〱硰愠瑵㭯㬢 †††††挠楤灡数摮桃汩⡤攠⤠††††††湩敳瑲敂潦敲挨楤ⱶ戠氮獡䍴楨摬㬩 †††素 †††攠獬晩 椡䉳潬敫䉤䑹浯楡⡮氠捯瑡潩牨晥⤠⤠ †††笠 †††††瘠牡椠橮⁆‽潤畣敭瑮挮敲瑡䕥敬敭瑮✨晩慲敭⤧††††††湩䙪献祴敬戮牯敤‽〧㬧 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