The tabernacle was Jehovah’s dwelling place among His redeemed people. The twelve tribes encamped
around it, and the cloud abode above it. Here it was that Sacrifice, Priesthood, Divine worship, and Diety’s
order began. There was no sanctuary in Egypt. Redemption and separation had to be known before there could
be a dwelling place for God or a place of worship and service for man.
The tabernacle was a shadow of good things to come. It pointed onward to Christ. Its sacrifices were
indications of the one Perfect Sacrifice. Of course, only in Christ do we have a perfect Sacrifice of eternal value
and a High Priest who abideth and liveth forever.
From that tabernacle, He spake and gave commandments concerning all that was involved in His
Worship. These commandments were instructions as to the order of His House and all that belonged to the
people in their service, their work, and their warfare. It involved the freewill offerings of the people, and all
these instructions were to be carried out according to the Divine pattern shown to Moses on the mount.
There the cloud―the manifested presence of Jehovah―came down and abode with the sanctuary and
was visibly manifest upon it, by day and by night. The tabernacle and the camp―the church in the wilderness,
the place of the Divine dwelling, and the complete list of Divine instructions, are typical of the church of God,
His dwelling place, and His kingdom. There were the people of Jehovah, His peculiar treasure, “a people near
unto Him,” in whose midst He dwelt and among whom He ruled as their King. This was the distinctive glory of
Israel and its power among its enemies.
In Deuteronomy 14:2, Moses reminded the people that the LORD had chosen them to be a peculiar
people unto himself, above all the nations upon the earth. Titus, a brother in the Lord and trusted companion of
Paul, spoke of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all
iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). Then, of course, our
beloved brother Peter, more directly and specifically stated, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of
darkness into his marvellous light:”
Peculiar is a strange word that is used to describe something that is strange. A characteristic of only one
person, group, or thing is noted as peculiar. It also describes something, or in this case, someone or a group of
someones who are distinctive; who are different from the usual or normal, even people who are special or
With no tabernacle in Egypt, it was a peculiar mark of separation that the Israelites were introduced to
the function of and, indeed, the high importance of their interactions with the tabernacle. More than a common
tent with no specific function other than a ‘meeting place’ for the people, this outwardly nondescript tent was, in
fact, for the Israelites, the place of meeting with their God! It was here that they could leave their burdens. Here
they could receive instructions from the priest. It was here that blood was shed as a sacrifice for sin.
Much could yet be said of that ‘tent of meeting.’ That tent amid Israel’s encampment was a very positive
physical, visual, and spiritual part of their daily life. Things happened in that place that was very unusual…even
peculiar. David was moved to write, “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the
LORD.’” (Psalm 122:1). This is God’s house!
Let’s go to church!