The first tabernacle in the New Testament age is in John 1. Verses 1 and 14 say, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….And the Word became flesh and tabernacled* among us.” The ultimate tabernacle is New Jerusalem.
The Old Testament tabernacle was a physical building but the New Testament tabernacle is God dwelling in man. This is a big change. The Old Testament things were pictures but in the New Testament Jesus declared “I am the reality” (John 14:6).
In the Old Testament picture, the high priest, after coming to the altar and laver then partaking of the bread on the table and being in the light of the lampstand, could enter the holy of holies to be in God’s presence.
Today all the New Testament believers are priests (Revelation 1:6) and all of us come to the presence of God by coming to Jesus Christ. He is the embodiment of God—“in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9).
Now God in Christ dwells/tabernacles in all His believers. Christ in us is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Christ lives in us and is being formed in us (Galatians 2:20, 4:19).
The New Testament tabernacle with God dwelling in man will continue for eternity. In Revelation 21:2-3 John saw New Jerusalem and “heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them…”
How we thank the Lord for the New Testament tabernacle. Lord, bring us fully into the experience of the tabernacle and bring us onward to New Jerusalem.
Many English versions say “lived” or “dwelt” but the Greek word is clearly “tabernacled,” a verb form of the noun used in speaking about the Old Testament tabernacle (e.g. Acts 7:44, Hebrews 8:5, 9:2). The translation “tabernacled” is used by Young, Amplified, and King James II, and appears in footnotes in Darby, ERV, and ASV.
Photo courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.