The Tabernacle – A Picture Of The Lord Jesus Christ

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, Aug. 22, 2004, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. 

By Michael D. O’Neal                   Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church                     Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: Exodus 25:1-9

Text: Exodus 25:8

Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

Introduction: The tabernacle is said to be typical of New Testament truth in that in the New Testament:
1. God indwells the church (Ephesians 2:19-22) 2. God indwells the believer (2 Corinthians 6:16) 3. Heaven (Hebrews 9:23-24)

However, I believe that the main thing a student should find in studying the tabernacle is the occurrence of types, or prophetic pictures, of the Lord Jesus Christ. The tabernacle was made, said God, “that I may dwell among them.” Does this not immediately bring to mind the verses of John’s gospels about the incarnation and deity of Christ?

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Then note these words in verse 14:

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.

“and dwelt among us.”

The tabernacle was made for God to dwell among men. Jesus Christ was “made flesh” in John 1:14 “and dwelt among us.”


The construction of the tabernacle is tedious reading, but every part of its design, I believe, has some reference to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of this we should not be surprised, for our Lord

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Those scriptures were specifically Genesis through Deuteronomy, the first five books of the Bible, for the Lord further stated:

John 5:46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.

Interestingly, the word “tabernacle” occurs 297 times in the Bible. This is 9 times 39, the number of Old Testament books. Nine is associated with fruitfulness in scripture. The only real fruit associated with the law is that it points to the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. When Christ died on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn in two, from the TOP to the BOTTOM.

I think of four truths about the Old Testament tabernacle which remind me of truths about the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Exodus 25:9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

This is the first occurrence of the word of the 297 verses in which it appears in the Bible.

God favored the Jews, His chosen people, by “tabernacling” or dwelling among them.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

A. It demonstrated the passion of God for mankind (Romans 5:8)

B. It declared the path to God

C. It distinguished the people of God


The word “forgiveness” occurs in seven verses of scripture. The first one is:

Psalms 130:4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

There is forgiveness “with THEE.” The key to forgiveness is getting to GOD. That’s where forgiveness is found. The tabernacle pictured the way to God and how special it was.

In the New Testament, we find that forgiveness is available through Jesus Christ,

Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

and how that the forgiveness of Jesus also JUSTIFIES.

Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

A. There was an altar (sacrifice)

B. There was an atonement (shedding of blood)

C. There was an access (substitute – lamb and priest)


The tabernacle indicated to the world that God was present with Israel in fellowship. However, the fellowship with God through the tabernacle was limited and fearful.

True fellowship with God today comes from the fact that Jesus came into this world in the flesh:

1 John 1:1-3 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

The fellowship brought

A. Courage in the midst of enemies

B. Comfort in loss and disappointment

C. Counsel in times of decision


Hebrews 9:23-24 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

The tabernacle’s holy places were FIGURES of the TRUE.

We now have what was only promised and hinted at in the Old Testament:

A. Blessed assurance

B. Boldness in prayer (Hebrews 4:15)

C. A better place at death (Philippians 1:23 – FAR better)
1. Old Testament saints went to Abraham’s bosom; we go to CHRIST’S bosom!


Michael D. O’Neal (Proverbs 11:30), Pastor,  Gospel Light Baptist Church 
P.O. Box 3071 (237 Lockett Station Road), Albany, GA 31706
(229) 432-0039 (church) / (229) 698-2127 (parsonage)
*Scriptures in my notes are from the Authorized Version 1611 -KJV- and are used by permission of the Author – Ephesians. 6:17*
“Prepare For War in 2004”

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