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The Tabernacle: Preface

By J. Vernon McGee

      The Tabernacle:
      God's Portrait of Christ
      by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

      Published and distributed by
      Thru the Bible Radio Network

      All Scripture references are from the King James Bible.

      Revised Edition


      In any study of the Tabernacle, there is not much to say that has not already been said. "Of making many books there is no end" (Ecclesiastes 12:12) has definite application to treatments of the Tabernacle. Therefore, the desire for novelty has not entered into the making of this thesis. Rather, the works of others have been drawn upon copiously, and most of this thesis is a restatement that constitutes a revision of previous works.

      Wherein does this thesis differ from others, and what purpose prompts its appearance, are questions that justify an adequate answer. The paramount purpose has been to reveal, very inadequately and briefly to be sure, that God wrote systematic theology in the very warp and woof of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle was theology prewritten; the whole gamut of theology was run from Dan to Beersheba. The Tabernacle is the ABC's of salvation for babes in Christ. All the great doctrines of the Christian faith are contained therein.

      The treatment of this thesis is from the standpoint of the furniture. No time has been spent in hair-splitting interpretations of the meaning of the tent pins, bars, and bolts. We firmly believe that there is meaning in the minutest thread; however, the approach here has been from the furniture.

      It is interesting to note that only one verse of Scripture records the creation of the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1), while fifteen chapters are devoted to the Tabernacle (Exodus 25 -- 40) and a whole book (Leviticus) to the service of it. Evidently God meant to convey to our hearts more than arithmetical measurements of a lifeless structure that's sole interest, at best, lies in the realm of architecture.

      The Tabernacle tells the story of God's bared arm in action, while creation tells out the account of His finger work. God's finger work (Psalm 19) does not require the space of God's bared-arm work (Isaiah 52:10). The Tabernacle tells the story of salvation or the accomplishment of the bared arm of Jehovah. With that arm He built a dwelling place in the midst of sinner man. All is in anticipatory preparation for the day when "the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people" (Revelation 21:3). Therefore, the Tabernacle is the finest portrait of Christ and of His redemption that there is in the Old Testament. God sent a picture before He sent the Person. The Tabernacle is God's picture book for babes in Christ.

      In the New Testament the masterpiece is the church, "for we are his workmanship (poiema -- poem or masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). In the Old Testament God's masterpiece is the Tabernacle. Both are the dwelling places of God for the particular age to which each belongs. Both reveal Christ, for both are an adumbration of His own glorious Person.

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - In His Presence
   Chapter 2 - The Altar of Brass: The Doctrine of Satisfaction
   Chapter 3 - The Laver of Brass: The Doctrine of Sanctification
   Chapter 4 - The Three Entrances: The Doctrine of Worship
   Chapter 5 - The Table of Shewbread: The Doctrine of Worship (Continued)
   Chapter 6 - The Lampstand of Gold: The Doctrine of Worship (Continued)
   Chapter 7 - The Altar Of Gold: The Doctrine of Worship (Continued)
   Chapter 8 - The Veil Which was Rent: The Doctrine of the Incarnation
   Chapter 9 - The Ark of Gold and Wood: The Doctrine of Christology
   Chapter 10 - The Mercy Seat of Gold: The Doctrine of Propitiation


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