Summary notes from Week 9 of A Woman Heart ~ God’s Dwelling Place
Imagine Israel’s joy and excitement as they watched the finishing touches placed on the tabernacle! Had everything been prepared and constructed perfectly in accordance with God’s instructions? Would God approve?
Moses demonstrated exact obedience in preparing the sanctuary for God’s presence. Exodus 40 tells us over and over again that all preparations were made “as the LORD had commanded Moses.” (vs. 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, and 32) The strict instruction of God to make the tabernacle “exactly as I show you” could never have been far from Moses’ mind.
Finally, after Moses had finished the work, “the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” (Exodus 40:34) The Hebrew word for “filled” can also be translated as satisfy, fulfill, accomplish, or complete (BDB Hebrew Dictionary). Recall God’s promise to Jeremiah, “I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” (Jeremiah 1:12) Word Biblical Commentary says that there is a notion of impatience or anxious expectation associated with the Hebrew word for “watching” in this verse.
Can you imagine? God was watching and waiting with anxious expectation for His word to be fulfilled and for His glorious presence to complete the work of the tabernacle. His perfect will was satisfied and He could dwell with His people! Even when the tabernacle moved from a tent in the desert to the lavish permanent dwelling of Solomon’s temple, God chose to fill the temple with His presence (2 Chronicles 5:14).
Sadly, the glory of God did not remain with His people. The book of Ezekiel describes the prophet’s vision of the departure of the glory of God from the temple that would occur when Jerusalem fell into captivity. First, Ezekiel sees the glory of God move from the Holy of Holies to the inner court (10:3), and then to the threshold of the temple (10:4). As God moved, His cherubim moved with Him, and the sound of their wings could be clearly heard (10:5). The New International Commentary of the Old Testament describes a restlessness in the sound of the wings as though the cherubim were gathering to depart. Ezekiel then sees the glory of God move to the entrance at the east side of the temple (10:19), and finally to above the mountain east of the temple (11:23). In Scripture, the mountain to the east of the temple is always the Mount of Olives.
Did the glory of God ever return to the temple? The next great temple was Herod’s; however, there is no description of God’s glory filling this temple in the way described in Exodus and 2 Chronicles. That is, until the 8th day in the life of the infant Jesus. Luke 2 tells us how, on the day that Jesus was presented at the temple, the man Simeon immediately recognized Jesus as “your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32)
And now we, as saved believers in Christ, can look forward with anxious expectation to the return of the glory of God. Just as Christ ascended into heaven in a cloud from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:8), we have received the promise that “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11) The prophet Zechariah describes this phenomenal event: “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley.” (Zechariah 14:4)
Come Lord Jesus!
Viewer Guide answers (pages 200 & 201 of your study book):
- preparation; obedience, exactly; finish
- filling; rest, abide shekinah
- departure; inner threshold; east gate; mountain east
- Herod’s; glory; Israel