"The Tabernacle in the Wilderness," Holman Bible, 1890

Exodus 38:21–40:38: Abomination of desolation vs. glory of habitation

During the course of Israel’s settlements in the wilderness and later in the Promised Land, God’s name rested on several places, including Shiloh and later Jerusalem. The Tabernacle was never desecrated by outside forces but it’s worship was compromised from the outside in.

The Temple, in Jerusalem, on the other hand, was sacked several times by corrupt kings as well as foreign invaders. Sometimes, God blessed the dedications of His temples with a visible sign of His Divine Presence, sometimes he did not. In the Torah reading פקודי Pekudei (“countings,” Exodus 38:21–40:38), we will look at how and why God did or did not visibly show His presence when the various Tabernacles and Temples were dedicated or rededicated through Israel’s history.

Moses’ tabernacle was not as flashy and grand as Solomon’s temple but the Tabernacle was never sacked, either while Solomon’s temple was sacked numerous times before it was sacked and destroyed by the Babylonians.

The glory of Solomon’s temple was greater than Moses’s tabernacle, but God is the glory of the Tabernacle or Temple who matters, not the tent or the building He inhabits. The Tabernacle and Temple get their glory from God, not the other way around. Let’s not forget that.

Multiple habitations of Maqom (“The Place”)

God’s glory inhabited the Tabernacle or Temple multiple times:

Exodus 40 

1Kings 8

Revelation 15 

Acts 2

This was a Temple of people, not of brick and stone. He made the people new and holy.

Ezekiel 43

This Temple didn’t exist yet.

His cloud did NOT fill the temple in these two cases but they still received a blessing.:


This temple finished in the same time as Mose’ tabernacle. Everyone was ritually clean, which is better than what Solomon did. Their hearts were contrite. They were humble and repentant. Yet God didn’t show up either at Passover or Sukkot.


Why didn’t God fill the Ezra and Maccabee era temples with His glory? One reason might be because the Ezra and Maccabee temples were not a dedication of a new temple. They were just cleaning up a temple that had been desecrated.  They were repenting and returning to God.

Occupied because of righteousness?

It wasn’t because of Moses or Solomon’s righteousness that God entered the Tabernacle or Temple. It was not the righteousness of the disciples that called God’s glory down.

God says that the separation between God and His people were caused by the king’s and their repulsive idolatry.

When God’s spirit enters into inside a person, that is the most intimate connection between God and His people. God is coming to stay.

In Moses‘s tabernacle and Solomon’s temple, the people literally has to leave but in Acts and Ezekiel, the people do not have to leave.

God’s presence contains wrath. You don’t want to experience God’s wrath. Flesh can not be in the same place as God’s presence.

Once God’s wrath is dissipated, like we see in Revelation 15, God’s presence is not a dangerous space. There’s nothing for humanity to run away from anymore. God turns His people into an Ark, where the law is written on the heart.

God’s goal is not for us to go back to Moses but to go back to Him.

God’s temple is made of people. The high priest’s garments are  decorated as the bride is in Revelation 21.

God wants us to move forward, not to repent and move back al the way to the very beginning and start all over again. What repentance is to go back to the right path, go back to where our path departed and then go forward from there.

Summary: Tammy

Banner image: “The Tabernacle in the Wilderness,” The Holy Bible. Illustration. Public domain (U.S.). Philadelphia, Penn.: A.J. Holman & Company, 1890. Via BreadSite.org.

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