David’s Tabernacle Part 4
In his sermon that ultimately led to his martyrdom, Stephen knew he was speaking to a hostile crowd, and just before his death he called into question the construction of the temple:
46 David found favor in God’s sight, and asked that he might find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for Him. 48 However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: (Acts 7:46-48 NASV)
Stephen said the Temple was made of human hands and it was not where God dwells.
Was Stephen referring to the fact that the Temple in Jesus’s day was paid for and constructed by the reprobate King Herod? Or was Stephen talking about the fact the Ark of the Covenant on which the presence of God dwelt had disappeared centuries earlier and the Holy of Holies in Herod’s temple was empty?
Or was he talking about something else?
There were three religious structures that ancient Israel built to house the Ark of the Covenant. The two main structures involved the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon. But for a brief period stuck between Moses’s Tabernacle and the Temple was the Tabernacle of David.
It was created when King David moved the Ark of the Covenant from the Tabernacle of Moses to a tent he set up in Jerusalem. Though it doesn’t receive a lot of Biblical press, it was probably the most significant of the three structures as the prophets began talking of a future day when the Tabernacle of David would be restored (Amos 9:11-12). They also spoke of the day when the Messiah would rule from David’s tent, a reference to the Tabernacle of David (Isaiah 16:5).
David’s tabernacle differed from the other two structures in that it provided access for everyone to the presence of God. There were no divisions, as there were in the Temple, separating the men and the women and gentiles. There also were no restrictions due to disabilities or illegitimacy .
There were no animal sacrifices at the Tabernacle of David other than sacrifices of praise. It generated a new form of praise and worship involving instruments, singing and dancing (Psalm 150 ).
People were also free to enter the tent and stand before the Ark of the Covenant and offer “sacrifices” of praise to God.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. (Psalm 27:6 NASV)
In both the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple, only the high priest could enter the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was hidden from sight and then only after he made sacrifices.
Of course the most imposing of the structures was the Temple constructed by King David’s son, Solomon. Though David wanted to build a Temple for God, there are serious questions about whether God wanted a temple.
The idea for the Temple started when David compared his massive palace with the simple, little tent that he had set up to house the Ark of the Covenant. Playing in the background of all this were the elaborate temples that kings of other nations built to worship their pagan gods.
Written by Dean Smith
“Did God Want King David to Build a Temple?” to be continued in part 5 of David’s Tabernacle
“God wanted believers to be His temple, not some structure made of stone and wood. But notice David’s reaction. He misconstrued that prophecy and thought it meant that his immediate son Solomon was supposed to build the temple.” (1 Chronicles 22:7-10).
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