By Ben Temperley
Many people are familiar with or have heard about the Tabernacle of Moses constructed by the Israelites for use in their desert wanderings from Egypt to the Promised Land. However, many people are less familiar with the tabernacle constructed by King David. The author will attempt to clarify the differences between and significance of the two tabernacles.
First, a word of explanation may be helpful. The word tabernacle is not a commonly used word in today’s English. According to Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, a tabernacle is a “tent” or a “dwelling place”. The Lord desired a place dedicated to worship. He instructed Moses on Mount Sinai to build a portable tent from which priests could perform worship and service before Him as the Israelites journeyed from Egypt to the Promised Land. The heart of the Tabernacle of Moses was the Ark of the Covenant where God’s glory was manifested.
The Israelites eventually settled in Shiloh in the Promised Land and pitched the Tabernacle of Moses. Later, as a result of the wickedness of the priests, Eli and his sons, God allowed the Philistines to take the Ark from the tabernacle. This led Israel to set up the Tabernacle of Moses in Gibeon, three miles north of Jerusalem, without the Ark! Eventually, God brought judgment upon the Philistines causing them to return the Ark to Israel. However, David pitched a tent on Mt. Zion to house the Ark of God instead of placing it in the Tabernacle of Moses. Thus, the Tabernacle of David was established. From the time the Tabernacle of David was established until the Temple of Solomon was built (35 to 40 years later), there were two tabernacles in existence at the same time.
Author, Kevin J. Conner, argues that there are many applications for the Church today which are found in the Tabernacle of David. He illustrates some of these applications by comparing the Tabernacle of David with the Tabernacle of Moses and uses Old and New Testament examples in support of his premise. The author will share ten comparisons between the two tabernacles. First, the Tabernacle of David (TD) incorporated singers in the worship (1 Chr. 15:16-27; Col. 3:16). The Tabernacle of Moses (TM) did not except for a few at Mt. Gibeon. Second, the TD used instruments as part of the worship (1 Chr. 23:5; 25:1-7; Eph. 5:18-19), while the TM had none. Third, the Levites ministered before the Ark (1 Chr. 16:37; Heb. 6:19-20; 10:19-21) in the TD. Whereas, only the High Priest could minister before the Ark in the TM. Fourth, the TD had a ministry of thanking (1 Chr. 16:4, 8, 41; 1 Thess. 5:18). There was no such ministry in the TM. Fifth, the TD was filled with praise (1 Chr. 16:4, 36; Heb. 13:15). Praise was not part of the TM. Sixth, the TD included Psalm singing (1 Chr. 16:7; Eph. 5:18-19; 1 Cor. 14:26; James 5:13). Psalm singing was not part of the worship at the TM (Psalm 90 may be an exception). Seventh, clapping was part of the worship at the TD (Ps. 47:1), but not at the TM. Eighth, shouting was a part of the TD (1 Chr. 15:28; 1 Thess. 4:16). Shouting was not part of the TM except at Jericho in Joshua chapter 6. Ninth, dancing was instrumental at the TD (1 Chr. 15:29; Ps. 149:3; Lk. 15:25), but it was not at the TM (except in Exodus 15). Tenth, worshippers at the TD offered spiritual sacrifices (Ps. 27:6; 116:17; 1 Pet. 2:3-5; Heb. 13:15-16), not animal sacrifices like the TM .
In this brief comparison of the two tabernacles, the author hopes that the reader will understand some of the key differences between the two. The author also hopes that the reader will find applications for the Church today through careful study of the Tabernacle of David.