Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 8

The tabernacle

Hebrews 8:5

In Exodus chapters 25 to 27, God told Moses to build the holy tent called the tabernacle, and its furniture. The tabernacle was the place where Israelís priests served God. A few centuries afterwards, Solomon built the building called the temple for the same purpose.

God did not allow Moses to choose his own design for the tabernacle. Instead, God showed it to Moses while Moses was on the mountain called Sinai. And God warned Moses on several occasions. Moses must follow exactly the plan and the design that God had shown to him (Exodus 25:9, 25:40, 26:30 and 27:8).

The author of Hebrews explains why Moses had to follow these instructions so carefully. Before Moses, there had never been a tabernacle where Godís priests served him on this earth. But Moses was not building something that was completely new. Instead, God was telling Moses to build a copy of something that already existed in heaven.

That should not surprise us. We often call the tabernacle or the temple Ďthe house of Godí. But God does not live in a building that men make (2 Chronicles 6:18; Hebrews 8:2). His real home is in heaven Ė in fact, it is above the heavens (Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 7:26).

The tabernacle that Moses built was wonderful. Its design teaches us many things about God; although its lessons are not always easy to understand. The author of Hebrews will teach some of those lessons in chapter 9.

But we should always remember this fact. Jesusí work as priest is much more excellent than anything that Israelís priests achieved. They served God at the tabernacle on earth. That tabernacle was a copy on earth of the real tabernacle, which is in heaven. But Jesus serves in the real holy place, above the heavens, on the right side of God the Father.

Next part: A better covenant (Hebrews 8:6)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.