Restoring The Tabernacle of David

Restoring the Tabernacle of David (David's fallen tent) image based on Amos 9:11-12. Depicted by Jesus the Bridegroom with his Bride in the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies) as colors of worship arise. His banner over me is love is a banner at the top of the tent.

JOHN THE BAPTIST ARTWORKS SERIES 2

Click on the image to enlarge it.

SOLD, Watercolor Pencil, Colored Pencil and Iridescent Acrylic Paint on Matboard; 22.5 cm x 29.5 cm (9″ x 11.5″)

 

“On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages [alt.: wall up its breaches ]; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the gentiles who are called by My name,’ Says the LORD who does this thing.” (Amos 9:11-12 NKJV)

“O LORD, remember David and all the hardships he endured. He swore an oath to the LORD and made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob: ‘I will not enter my house or go to my bed–I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids, till I find a dwelling place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.’ We heard it it Ephrathah, we came upon it in the fields of Jaar: ‘Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool–arise, O LORD, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests be clothed with righteousness; may your saints sing for joy…For the LORD has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling: ‘This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it–I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor will I satisfy with food. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints will ever sing for joy.'” (Psalm 132:1-9, 13-16)

(I have divided the text up into sections:)

I) INTRODUCTION (and the meaning of the drawing in a nutshell)

II) THE STORY BEHIND THE INSPIRATION OF THIS DRAWING

III) BACKGROUND INFORMATION TO THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

IV) EXCERPTS FROM PHILIP MAURO’S BOOK, “THE HOPE OF ISRAEL”

V) HIGHLIGHTING THREE MAIN POINTS ABOUT THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

VI) A FRESH APPLICATION OF AMOS’ PROPHECY TO THE CHURCH TODAY

VII) EXPLANATION OF THE SYMBOLISM IN THIS DRAWING


I) INTRODUCTION

This highly symbolic drawing represents the deepest longings of my heart for the Church…and my deepest heartaches.

In a nutshell, this piece is about restoring true, pure, passionate, spiritual worship in the Church, about restoring real intimacy between Jesus and his Bride and about recovering the true presence and glory of God in our churches.

Because this piece is so highly symbolic and has multi-layered meanings, there is no quick way to explain it. Furthermore, the Scriptures upon which it is based are marvelously deep and require a bit of digging, cross-referencing and explanation in order to reveal and expound their beautiful treasures.

For those who want to understand the iconography in this drawing, explanations of the symbolism can be found at the end of this text in (VII) EXPLANATION OF THE SYMBOLISM IN THIS DRAWING).

For those who want to understand the fuller meaning of this drawing and the richness of the Scriptures it is based upon, keep reading. “The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb” (Psalm 19:10).


II) THE STORY BEHIND THE INSPIRATION OF THIS DRAWING

Prior to doing this drawing, the Lord had begun to deeply stir my heart over “restoring the tabernacle of David” through a song and by continually drawing me back to Amos 9:11-12. Though I did not really understand this prophecy or the spiritual meaning of “the tabernacle of David”, every time I was drawn back to the verse or the song my spirit would groan and a fire would burn within me (which I also did not completely understand yet).

Eventually the fire and groanings became so strong that they compelled me to search out: “What is so significant about restoring the tabernacle of David?” and “What is the proper exposition of Amos 9:11-12 and Acts 15:13-18 (which quotes Amos 9:11-12 as fulfilled prophecy)?”

In my search to understand these Scriptures, I read perhaps 10 different commentaries and articles on these verses, all of which seemed to side with one of the two common different interpretations, yet neither of these two interpretations bore witness in my spirit as being the full and proper exposition of these Scriptures.

Unsatisfied, the fire within me kept burning away, my spirit kept groaning, and I kept praying that God would reveal to me HIS true interpretation of Amos 9:11-12 and Acts 15:13-18 . I prayed he would help me understand what “restoring the tabernacle of David” meant to HIS heart and why I was so inwardly inclined toward it even though I did not fully understand it yet.

In the midst of this very frustrating place where my spirit was groaning (even beginning to travail) and the fire within me growing ever hotter in zeal to see the restoration of the tabernacle of David (and yet my mind still not fully understanding what this was all about), I did this drawing. It was an attempt to visually articulate the fire and these groanings, for up until then I could still not find words to articulate them. But even after I finished the drawing I was just as frustrated because, just as I lacked the words, so I felt I lacked the imagery to illustrate the full scope of the subject and the intensity of these groanings. For this reason, this drawing is a personal failure, but it’s message is still important.

Then finally in my search to understand the Scriptures about restoring the tabernacle of David, I came across a text written by Philip Mauro (The Hope of Israel) in 1929:

Just like on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) my heart burned within me as the Lord unlocked the deep treasures of his Word through this text! I finally found the explanation that bore full witness in my spirit as being the complete and proper exposition of these verses, and I shouted for joy! It helped me articulate exactly what my spirit was groaning about. Now that my mind was fully satisfied with understanding the Scriptures, I began to grasp the more prophetic meaning of what “restoring the tabernacle of David” means and why, for such a time as this (Esther 4:14), that this 2750 year old prophecy was burning inside of me today.

Much of Biblical prophecy, including that which has already been fulfilled, has an ageless dimension to it (Psalm 119:89, Matthew 24:35); it has the ability to continue speaking prophetically to us throughout all ages.

Amos 9:11-12 began its fulfillment in Acts 15 and continues its fulfillment today.

However, the “church” environment in which Amos originally gave this prophecy is strikingly similar to the general “church” environment of the Western church today. Therefore the prophetic book of Amos speaks to us dynamically in a fresh, new, sharp-as-a-double-edged-sword way to us today (Hebrews 4:12-13).

My drawing is not so much about the initial fulfillment of this prophecy as it is about relating Amos’ timeless prophecy to the church afresh at this time.

Philip Mauro’s brilliant 7.5 page chapter is too long to duplicate here; however, it is well worth the full read. (Unfortunately, I only found one copy of it online, which has now been removed from public access.) He explains the initial meaning and fulfillment of Amos’ prophecy, which is the foundation of the more prophetic “re-application” of this prophecy to the church today (the meaning of my drawing). I have included some excerpts of his text below (in purple). Following his text, I have then explained how I have taken the prophecy a step further by relating it to the church today (and thus, the meaning behind my drawing finally and fully explained!)

Before quoting Mauro’s text, however, I need to provide a little background information about the tabernacle of David.


III) BACKGROUND INFORMATION TO THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

When King David brought up the ark of the covenant (symbolic of God’s presence (Exodus 25:22)) to Jerusalem (Zion, the city of God) in 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 15-16 , he pitched a tabernacle (tent) to house it. David and all of Israel worshiped the Lord joyfully in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). “David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets” (2 Samuel 6:14-15).

About 250 years later, Israel was materially blessed and spiritually complacent. She had long since departed from her passionate worship and pure devotion to the Lord during the days of King David and had plunged into idolatry and every manner of sin.

Strangely, however, she still kept up her religious practices towards the Lord. She still assembled in his name, made sacrifices and offerings to him and continued to play worship music on harps, just as David did and had prescribed for temple worship. Nevertheless, the Lord saw straight through the empty ‘worship’ Israel offered him. He saw straight into her idolatrous heart–that she was in love with many other lovers beside him. (See “Hosea” (John The Baptist Artworks Series).)

“She said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my food and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink’…’she…went after her lovers, but me she forgot,’ declares the LORD” (Hosea 2:5,13).

In the midst of her spiritual adultery, God sent the prophet Amos (a near contemporary of the prophet Hosea) to announce God’s coming judgment upon Israel (exile to Assyria) for her idolatrous departure from the Lord. Yet after denouncing her sins and announcing her judgment, Amos prophesied that after her judgment:

“…I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages [alt.: wall up its breaches ]; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the gentiles who are called by My name,’ Says the LORD who does this thing.” (Amos 9:11-12 NKJV)

In the context of a prophetic message that focuses on Israel’s departure from true worship of the Lord into idolatry, the imagery of David’s fallen tabernacle cannot help but evoke memories of the old glory days of Israel during the reign of King David, when “the entire house of Israel” brought up the ark of the Covenant and placed it in the tabernacle of David, worshiping the Lord in spirit and in truth and enjoying the very glory, presence and power of God in their midst.

Within 250 years David’s tabernacle (and not Solomon’s temple) and all that it represented spiritually, had indeed fallen down into ruins! What a beautiful prophecy, therefore, that God would one day rebuild and repair it!

About 800 years after Amos, in Acts 15, the apostle James recognized that the inclusion of the Gentiles (non-Jews) into the early church was the exact fulfillment of the prophecy in Amos 9:11-12.

“Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.’

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them:

‘Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.’

The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. When they finished James spoke up: ‘Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:

‘After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent [tabernacle]. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things; that have been known for ages.'” (Acts 15:5-18)

So what does the inclusion of Gentiles into the church have to do with restoring the tabernacle of David and all that it represented spiritually? What was so significant about “restoring the tabernacle of David”?

This is precisely what I sought to understand, and this is exactly what Philip Mauro (and George Smith, whom Philip quoted) explained to me.


IV) EXCERPTS FROM PHILIP MAURO’S BOOK “THE HOPE OF ISRAEL”

(This text expounds some marvelously rich treasures of God’s Word. It is very deep, and it requires the reader to have a good understanding of all the Scriptures it references. For these reasons, this text might be a bit difficult for some readers to understand. Therefore I have brought out a few of its major points in the next section: V) HIGHLIGHTING THREE MAIN POINTS ABOUT THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID. If Philip Mauro’s text is too difficult, readers may want to skip down to this next section. Readers may also want to consider reading part V first and then coming back to read these excerpts in part IV. I have put in bold the parts of this article that are especially pertinent to the meaning of my drawing):

 

BUILDING AGAIN THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

By Philip Mauro (From his book: The Hope Of Israel) 1929

The apostle James, in announcing the decision of the great and epoch-making Conference of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-21) which Conference was historically the first General Council of the Christian Church, cited the words of the prophet Amos, through whom God had said: “ In that day will I raise up again the tabernacle of David, that is fallen (Amos 9:11)…

By reference to Acts 15:1-21, it will be seen that the question presented for the decision of the Conference was whether the Gentiles, who had been converted to Christ, should be circumcised and commanded to keep the law of Moses (v. 5). For some had taught them, saying, “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (v. 1). That question was of capital importance, as may be clearly seen in the light of Paul’s Epistle to the churches of Galatia. The conference, therefore, marked a momentous epoch in the history of the Kingdom of God…

According to the writer’s understanding of the passage, the era contemplated by the words, “After this I will return,” is this present Gospel dispensation, whereof the conversion of Gentiles is the conspicuous feature (the “mystery,” Ephesians 3:3-6); and that “the tabernacle of David” is a prophetic symbol of that “spiritual house,” into which converted Gentiles, along with converted Jews, “as living stones,” are being builded together, upon Christ, the “sure Foundation,” “for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 2:20-22; I Pet. 2:5, 6; Isa. 28:16). [213]

From James’ words alone it is clear that God’s promise through the prophet Amos, that He would “build again the tabernacle of David,” was related to what He was just then beginning to do, namely, visiting the Gentiles, to take out from among them a people for His Name…

This connects the promise concerning the building again of the tabernacle of David directly with God’s work, then just commenced, of converting sinners from among the Gentiles. It fixes beyond all question the time of the building again of the tabernacle of David; for it definitely locates that promised work in this gospel era, during all of which God has been visiting and converting the Gentiles. And when we connect with this the further fact, clearly stated in the N. T., that God’s chief purpose in converting sinners of the Gentiles is that He may use them as “living stones,” in the building of that “spiritual house” which He is now raising up, our way to a right understanding of the passage seems fairly clear. For it only remains to inquire whether we are warranted by the Word of God in taking “the tabernacle of David,” spoken of by Amos, as a prophetic symbol of that “habitation of God,” which is now being “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief Corner Stone” (Ephesians 2:20-22). [214]…

This brings us to the question, What then is

THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID?

To begin with, let us note that it is not the temple of Solomon. The two structures were quite distinct; and typically they differ widely in significance. Amos prophesied concerning a “tabernacle,” definitely associated with David, a tabernacle which, at the time of his prophecy, had “fallen,” and was in “ruins.” Amos prophesied “in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah” (Amos 1:1) , at which time the temple of Solomon was standing in all its glory, and its services and sacrifices were [216] being carried out in due order. There is doubtless something very significant in the fact that, while the temple of Solomon was yet standing, God declared His purpose to raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, ” and to “raise up its ruins.

Historically, the tabernacle of David was the tent wherein the ark of God was housed during the latter part of David’s reign. In 2 Samuel 6 is the account of the bringing up of the ark of God “into the city of David with gladness” (v. 12); and it is recorded that “they brought the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it” (v. 17). Thus “the tabernacle of David,” pitched in “Zion,” the city of David, became the dwelling place of Jehovah; and hence it is most natural and fitting that it should become in prophecy the figure or symbol of that “tabernacle of God,” which the Son of David was to build, according to the true meaning and intent of the word of the Lord by Nathan, recorded in the very next chapter of 2 Samuel : “He shall build an house for My Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:13). This conclusion finds strong support in the fact that the name of David’s city, Zion, is used in many prophecies, and also in the New Testament, as the designation of God’s eternal habitation.

Recurring to the prophecy of Amos, it will be clearly seen that his statements could not be taken as applying to the literal tent that David had set up to receive [217] the ark. Even if that frail structure had survived, in a condition of delapidation, to the days of Amos, still the terms “breaches” and “ruins,” used by Amos, and the phrase “build again” of James, would be inapplicable to a mere tent. Nor would it require a work of God to raise it up and repair it. So we are driven to the conclusion that the raising again of the tabernacle of David, spoken of by the prophet, was the figure of a work which God Himself would undertake to accomplish; a work that was of great importance in His eyes, and that would require for its accomplishment the putting forth of His mighty quickening power. And such indeed is the building of that “spiritual house” whereof “Jesus Christ of the seed of David, risen from the dead” (2 Timothy 2:8), is the true foundation, the tried Corner Stone laid “in Zion”; and upon which converted Jews and Gentiles having been “quickened together with Christ,” are “as living stones,” being built up, “to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-6). In this view of the prophecy it does indeed “agree” with what God was beginning to do in the days of the Jerusalem conference, as reported by the apostles, Peter, Paul and Barnabas.

AS LIVING STONES

… And the apostle [Peter] quotes in this [ 1 Peter 2:4-6 ] connection Isaiah 28:16, “Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded.”

This citation from Isaiah establishes two facts of capital importance; first, that God’s eternal habitation is being built, not in the natural world, but in the spiritual world; and second, that the “Zion” of prophecy, which God has chosen as the place of His eternal abode, is the heavenly Zion, to which we “are come” (Hebrews 12:22). These two facts constitute strong evidence confirmatory of the correctness of our explanation of Acts 15:16. For the tabernacle that David built for the ark was in Zion, the city of David; and inasmuch as the name “Zion” designates a spiritual locality, the place of God’s eternal dwelling, it would naturally follow that the expression “tabernacle of David” has also a spiritual meaning…

 

OTHER DETAILS OF THE PASSAGE

It has been already pointed out that the words which is fallen down” &c. could not be taken as applying either to the literal tent which David had erected as a habitation for the ark, or to Solomon’s temple. In what sense then was the tabernacle of David is fallen down and in ruins? To find an explanation for those words we must needs take them in a figurative sense; [220] and there should be no hesitation or reluctance so to do, seeing that figurative language is the customary language of the prophets. And a most satisfactory explanation of those expressions immediately presents itself, when we call to mind that God’s people constitute His true dwelling place. It was Israel that was “fallen,” and that was, in God’s contemplation, in “ruins.” It was Israel that God purposed to “raise up again”–not, of course, the natural Israel, but the spiritual Israel, the true “Israel of God,” a people composed of the saved remnant of the natural Israel, with whom are incorporated into one body, forming one spiritual house, the called from among the Gentiles. To these Amos refers in the words “remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen (Gentiles) upon whom My Name is called” (Amos 9:12, marg. ). Instead of “remnant of Edom” James has “ residue of men, ” which indicates that Amos used the word “Edom” figuratively to designate all who were not “Jacob,” that is, non-Israelites…

GEORGE SMITH ON THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

Very little seems to have been written on the subject of the Tabernacle of David; therefore the writer was glad to find, in George Smith’s Harmony of the Divine Dispensations (published in 1856) some illuminating comments thereon.

The chapter is much too long to be reproduced here in full. But some extracts are given below, prefaced by a brief explanation of what precedes the quoted paragraphs.

Mr. Smith wonders that there should ever have been any uncertainty as to what was meant in the [222] prophecies of Isaiah 16:5 and Amos 9:11 by “the tabernacle of David”; seeing that the Scriptures give such great prominence to “ the tabernacle that David had pitched” for the ark of the covenant. One account of the removal of the ark to the tabernacle that David prepared for it on Mount Zion is given in 2 Samuel 6:15-17; and again in 1 Chronicles 16:1 it is recorded that “they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it.Moreover both accounts make evident that the housing of the ark of God in the tabernacle of David was an event of unusual importance; for it was celebrated by “all Israel” with demonstrations of the most impressive character– “with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets and with cymbals,” while King David himself danced before the ark with all his might in the exuberance of his joy. And then followed sacrifices of burnt offerings and peace offerings, and the distribution “to every one of Israel, both man and woman,” of the king’s bounty, flesh, bread and wine for a feast. And furthermore the event was signalized by the fact that that is, Psalm 105 and parts of other Psalms: see 2 Samuel 23:1, and 1 Chronicles 16:7).

But, as Mr. Smith points out, the most remarkable and significant feature of this great historical event is that it constituted a decided break with the levitical ordinances given through Moses, in that the ark of God’s presence was no longer in the holy of holies of the Tabernacle of the Wilderness (which was then at Gibeon), but in the midst of the Tabernacle of David on Mount Zion; and further that there were no animal sacrifices there, only sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving; and [223] no priests, but only Levites, whom David appointed “to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record,” that is literally to make mention of, or bring to remembrance, or in other words to proclaim or preach the mercies and the marvelous acts of God, “and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel” (1 Chronicles 16:4). This was a very remarkable suspension of the system of worship of the Law, and an equally remarkable foreshadowing of that of the Gospel. And so it was during the greater part of King David’s reign, during all the years the ark of God dwelt in the Tabernacle of David.

Chiefly it is to be observed that this sojourn of the ark on Mount Zion is the foundation of the many references in the Psalms and the Prophets to Zion, as the dwelling place of Jehovah, and is what gives to the terms “Zion” and “Mount Zion” their high spiritual meaning. And it is a most significant fact, whereof we must take due notice if we are to understand some of the most important of the prophecies, that never thereafter was Mount Moriah, where Solomon’s magnificent temple stood, referred to as Jehovah’s dwelling place, but always Mount Zion; and that when God speaks by His prophets concerning things to come in the Kingdom of Christ, He never says “I will build again the Temple of Solomon which I destroyed,” but “I will build again the Tabernacle of David which is fallen down.”

Thus, the Tabernacle of David is evidently replete with typical meaning, concerning which it will suffice for our present purpose to remark that, to David, the man after God’s own heart, who was himself a conspicuous type of Christ, and who is more closely associated with the gospel than any other of the patriarchs [224] (Matthew 1:1; Acts 13:22, 34; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8; Revelation 27:16, etc.) it was given to know the mind of God concerning real spiritual worship; and that he, “being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne” (Acts 2:30) was permitted to give in the tabernacle pitched by him on Mount Zion, a wonderful foreshadowing of the worship, by prayer, preaching and song, which characterizes the gatherings of God’s people in this gospel dispensation.

The spiritual worship thus begun was not continued in the reign of subsequent Kings; for a fearful decline began in the days of Solomon and continued to the end of the kingdom era. But Amos, in the days of Uzziah, delivered that famous prophecy concerning the raising up of the Tabernacle of David (Amos 9:11, 12), which all the apostles, elders and people assembled at Jerusalem accepted as decisive of the question whether the Mosaic ritual was to be imposed upon Gentile converts (Acts 15:1-17). Citing the words of Amos, Mr. Smith says it was–

“A prophecy which clearly places before us the genius and character, religious services and spirit of the tabernacle of David, as similar and precursor to the Kingdom of Christ.” And then, after quoting Isaiah’s prophecy (16:5) concerning “the Tabernacle of David,” he continues:

“These prophecies considerably enlarge our field of vision with respect to the relation of the tabernacle of David to the kingdom of Christ. According to these, the Shekinah, resting over the cherubim in the sanctuary of Mount Zion, typified the reign of Christ in the Gospel Church. In fact this is the true line of descent, [225] and the true exposition of the kingdom of Christ. For here, in those gracious institutions of a remembered and proclaimed covenant mercy, and those thanksgivings of grateful love (poured out in songs of praise), Messiah sits ruling in the hearts of His people, dispensing truth, and hastening them on to the attainment of righteousness.”

Referring to the question brought up for decision at Jerusalem, whereof an account is given in Acts 15, Mr. Smith says:

“The decision of that question, so vitally important to the rising Church, was formally referred to the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Paul, Barnabas and others went from Antioch to the Hebrew capital to take part in this important discussion. Peter, Barnabas and Paul recited the wonders wrought among the Gentiles by the preaching of the Gospel. But still there was wanting some clear, pointed, powerful, Scriptural authority to effect the permanent settlement of a question of such magnitude. And it was supplied by James, who quoted the words of the text (Amos 9:10, 11) as incontrovertible evidence on the case. The question was, Must the ritual law of Moses be obeyed by Christian converts? To this the apostle replied, ‘Certainly not; for inspired prophecy declares that the kingdom of Christ is not to be a revival and extension of Mosaicism, but on the contrary a restoration of the tabernacle of David. And since in that sanctuary the Mosaic ritual had no place, so it can have no claims in the Christian [226] Church.’ The most important feature of this case is the perfect unanimity with which this judgment was received and adopted. This was a meeting composed almost entirely of Hebrews, whose sympathies and prejudices inclined them to the observance of the ordinances of the law. Yet no sooner is the citation of sacred Prophecy made, than all perceive its force, all admit its decisive effect. Even the great body of believers unanimously concur. And there in Jerusalem itself, within sight of the temple, where the ritual of the law was still performed in all its extent and minuteness, the whole body of the Church repudiate its claims, and adopt the Tabernacle of David as the Divinely appointed model for all Christian practice and institutions.”

As to the effects: The first effect of the decision was to sweep away forever the assertion, “Except ye be circumcised, ye cannot be saved.” For, says our author,

“Circumcision fell and perished from the Christian Church before the Divinely inspired quotation of the prophecy of Amos by the apostle James. Sacrifice was abolished with circumcision. For that institution formed no part of the worship offered to God on Mount Zion.

“With circumcision and sacrifice the priesthood was also abolished. Indeed an unsacrificing priesthood is a contradiction of terms; for every priest is ‘ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices’ (Hebrews 8:3). But there was nothing of that kind in the tabernacle of David, whose sacred [227] services therefore vividly represented the worship proper to that church which is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Whose ‘one sacrifice for sins’ is universally and everlastingly efficacious -‘once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10). Nor must it be forgotten that, with those elements of the Mosaic economy, every existing typical and symbolical thing was swept away” (That is to say all the “shadows” of the law, were abolished and replaced by the corresponding spiritual realities). “It is astonishing that educated Christian men should evince so much weakness and ignorance as have been of late displayed; not to use stronger terms.”

“The tabernacle of David evidently arose from the existence and felt wants of men. They needed means of more direct union with God and communion with His Spirit, than was afforded by priestly instrumentality in the national sanctuary. And it pleased God to sanction and honor such a deviation from His own appointed ordinances as would meet that need. Hence the Ark of God and His glory dwelt in the sanctuary of Zion. There the people met before the Lord. There they heard the wonders of His covenant mercy and felt the power of His saving grace. How marvelous are the merciful manifestations of God! Who would have supposed that the Mosaic system could, in one great feature of its operation, have been suspended for so many years? That this measure should have been wrought up into sacred prophecy, and used under apostolic inspiration to cast a steady light on the true character of the Gospel Church, [228] and to show the nature of Gospel institutions? Yet so it is. And so fully is this the case that none can adequately apprehend the glorious development of grace which has attended the revelation of the Gospel, without a recognition of the Tabernacle of David, and some acquaintance with its services and its position in prophecy.

“How beautiful is the harmony with which these views put before us the merciful revelation of Divine grace to mankind! The law was introduced as a mighty persuasive and protest against idolatry, and for the purpose of setting forth, by the most significant and vivid typical action, the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus. This being done, the Tabernacle of David is raised, and Mount Zion becomes the seat of a manifestation of spiritual privilege and saving grace, which, in a great measure, anticipated the blessings of the Gospel, and was exactly adapted to prepare the world, and especially the Hebrew church, for the coming and Kingdom of God’s Messiah.”

The foregoing quotations present what impresses the writer as being a sound, sane, satisfying and above all, Scriptural, exposition of the Word of truth!

(The excerpts of Philip Mauro’s “The Hope of Israel” end here.)


V) HIGHLIGHTING THREE MAIN POINTS ABOUT THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

 

1) The spiritual worship at the original Tabernacle of David (in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 16) was a Biblical ‘type’ of the spiritual worship that is meant to characterize our present day New Testament Church.

Mauro says:

Thus, the Tabernacle of David is evidently replete with typical [emblematic, symbolic] meaning, concerning which it will suffice for our present purpose to remark that, to David, the man after God’s own heart…was given to know the mind of God concerning real spiritual worship; and that he…was permitted to give in the tabernacle pitched by him on Mount Zion, a wonderful foreshadowing of the worship, by prayer, preaching and song, which characterizes the gatherings of God’s people in this gospel dispensation [today].

In other words, the kind of spiritual worship (John 4:23-24) which David and the entire house of Israel exemplified (in 2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 16) as they brought the ark (the dwelling place of God) up to Jerusalem, was the Biblical model of the kind of spiritual worship we as New Testament Christians should also exemplify in our churches: spiritual, passionate, pure, unashamed, overflowing, joyful sacrifices of thanks and praise (the natural response to being set free from sin and from the Law into the grace of Jesus Christ).

 

2) New Testament Christianity is based upon free GRACE (through faith in Jesus Christ) and NOT WORKS of the Law (even “New Testament” “Law”, which many of us evangelical Christians sometimes revert to as the Galatians did ). The Tabernacle of David was a foreshadowing of this New Testament break from Law into Grace.

As the text says:

“…for inspired prophecy [Amos 9:11-12] declares that the kingdom of Christ is not to be a revival and extension of Mosaicism, but on the contrary a restoration of the tabernacle of David. And since in that sanctuary the Mosaic ritual had no place, so it can have no claims in the Christian [226] Church.’…And there in Jerusalem itself, within sight of the temple, where the ritual of the law was still performed in all its extent and minuteness, the whole body of the Church repudiate its claims, and adopt the Tabernacle of David as the Divinely appointed model for all Christian practice and institutions.”

When David removed the ark from Moses’ “Tabernacle of the Wilderness” to place it into “The Tabernacle of David” (2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 16), this was symbolic of the presence of God being found amidst a people who do not live by Law as their righteousness (Deuteronomy 6:25) but who worship the Lord passionately because of the grace they have received (Hebrews 12:18-24). See Philippians 3:1-11.

“But, as Mr. Smith points out, the most remarkable and significant feature of this great historical event [of David bringing the ark up from Moses’ tabernacle to the Tabernacle of David in Jerusalem] is that it constituted a decided break with the levitical ordinances given through Moses, in that the ark of God’s presence was no longer in the holy of holies of the Tabernacle of the Wilderness (which was then at Gibeon), but in the midst of the Tabernacle of David on Mount Zion; and further that there were no animal sacrifices there, only sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving; and [223] no priests, but only Levites, whom David appointed “to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record,” that is literally to make mention of, or bring to remembrance, or in other words to proclaim or preach the mercies and the marvelous acts of God, “and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel” ( 1 Chronicles 16:4). This was a very remarkable suspension of the system of worship of the Law, and an equally remarkable foreshadowing of that of the Gospel. And so it was during the greater part of King David’s reign, during all the years the ark of God dwelt in the Tabernacle of David.

 

3) THE PRESENCE OF GOD and this GRACE is what inspired the spiritual worship at the Tabernacle of David, just as it should (and does) in the New Testament Church (John 4:23-24).

Philip Mauro quotes George Smith:

“These prophecies considerably enlarge our field of vision with respect to the relation of the tabernacle of David to the kingdom of Christ. According to these, the Shekinah, resting over the cherubim in the sanctuary of Mount Zion, typified the reign of Christ in the Gospel Church. In fact this is the true line of descent, [225] and the true exposition of the kingdom of Christ. For here, in those gracious institutions of a remembered and proclaimed covenant mercy, and those thanksgivings of grateful love (poured out in songs of praise), Messiah sits ruling in the hearts of His people, dispensing truth, and hastening them on to the attainment of righteousness.”

This is exemplified in the Scriptures:

“You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.’ The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel…

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’ (Hebrews 12:18-24, 28-29)


VI) A FRESH APPLICATION OF AMOS’ PROPHECY TO THE CHURCH TODAY

Here is how I have related this prophecy to the church today (the meaning behind my drawing):

After Jesus’ resurrection, throughout the book of Acts we see:

–a church that was alive with the Holy Spirit, powerful and unified

–a church God was strongly present with in glory and power

–a church that passionately and continually worshiped God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24), a revival of the true kind of spiritual worship at the Tabernacle of David

Consider the following Scriptures describing the vibrant, early church:

“While he [Jesus] was blessing them [the disciples], he left them and was taken into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.” (Luke 24:51-53)

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them…a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language…’we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues’…” (Acts 2:1-4, 6,11)

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:42-47)

“‘Now, Lord, consider their [the Sanhedrin’s] threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them.” (Acts 4:29-34)

“The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their numbers. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.” (Acts 5:12-16)

“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 5:42)

When I read these passages, they bring out my deepest longing and my deepest heartache. How I long for our entire church today to be just like the glorious, unified, worshiping early church in the book of Acts. How my heart aches that, for the most part, I do not see it in the Western churches today.

When we examine our Western church against the timeless standard of the Scriptures, it seems that we have more in common with the church in Laodicea and of the Israel in Amos’ time than we do with the early church in the book of Acts. (May we all follow the example of righteous King Josiah in 2 Kings 22-23 and honestly examine ourselves in the light of Scriptures, weep and repent over our sins, commit ourselves in action to rectify our errors and to wholly recommit ourselves to the Lord. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14)).

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22)

The statements Jesus made to the Laodicean church are strikingly similar to Amos’ words to Israel in his day:

“Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come!…You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.” (Amos 6:1, 4-7)

“I [the Lord] hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god–which you made for yourselves.” (Amos 5:21-27)

Because Amos prophesied to a “church” (Israel) that so closely resembles our modern, lukewarm “Laodicean” church, I find many of Amos’ prophetic words fitting for us today… including his beautiful prophecy about “restoring the tabernacle of David”.

When we consider that the proper exposition of Amos 9:11-12 demonstrates that the kind of unashamed, passionate, spiritual worship associated with the Tabernacle of David (in 2 Samuel 6 and 1 Chronicles 16) is actually “… a wonderful foreshadowing of the worship, by prayer, preaching and song, which characterizes the gatherings of God’s people in this gospel dispensation…” (Mauro), we can see how much that the early church gloriously fulfilled it (as confirmed in Acts 15). Throughout the book of Acts we see “the kingdom of David” (the spiritual qualities which characterized King David’s ideal kingdom) all the more gloriously exemplified and fulfilled in “the kingdom of the Son of David [Jesus]” in the early days of the church.

However, just as the Israel of King David’s time backslid into idolatry and complacency by the time of Amos, so the early church of Acts, over the years has also backslid into the idolatry and complacency of the Laodicean-like church today.

Just as the Israelites of Amos’ day were distracted by their material wealth, so also much of the Western church today is also gravely influenced by the wealth, materialism, comfort and self-centered “me” culture in which it is immersed.

In Amos’ day, the full outward rituals of ‘worship’ were still being carried out at Solomon’s Temple though the peoples’ hearts were far from God (Isaiah 29:13). Likewise, today many individuals and churches still methodically carry on with outward motions and empty rituals of Christian ‘worship’ each Sunday, all the while failing to touch the heart of God through what they are doing. (Many of us evangelicals even fall into this trap of vain religiousity and the practice of cultural “churchianity” whenever we lose our focus on intimacy with Christ.)

(See “Freedom From A Religious Spirit” (John the Baptist Artworks Series), “Return To The Good Shepherd” (John The Baptist Artworks Series 2), “Just Fly” (John the Baptist Artworks Series) and “He Saves His Bride” (John the Baptist Artworks Series 2)).

Furthermore, in David’s time, when “the entire house of Israel” brought up the ark of the Lord (the presence of God) to the Tabernacle of David, they were intimately in touch with the heart of God. They understood what it meant to worship in spirit and in truth. God’s presence was with them.

This passionate worship is the inherent response of those who live under the grace of God (not Law).

“This [bringing up of the ark to Jerusalem] was a very remarkable suspension of the system of worship of the Law” , for, “it constituted a decided break with the levitical ordinances given through Moses, in that the ark of God’s presence was no longer in the holy of holies of the Tabernacle of the Wilderness (which was then at Gibeon), but in the midst of the Tabernacle of David on Mount Zion; and further that there were no animal sacrifices there, only sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving” (Mauro).

Though the grace and presence of God inspired David to dance before the Lord with all his might, by Amos’ time, Israel had mostly forgotten how to truly worship God from the heart like this. Instead, their worship had devolved into heartlessly keeping all the rituals of the Law in Solomon’s temple. For this reason, God sent them prophet after prophet to turn the hearts of the people back to him in worship.

Like the Israelites of David’s time, the early church of Acts also knew what it meant to worship God in spirit and truth. They also daily experienced the presence, power and glory of God in their midst. This is because the Jews in the early church knew the bondage and frustration of trying to live by a Law they had no ability to keep (Romans 7). When Jesus came preaching the gospel of grace, by which they were justified by faith and not by works, and through which they were completely set free from sin and the Law, their inherent response was passionate worship, a “revival” of the kind of worship at the Tabernacle of David.

Likewise, the Christian today, who has truly experienced being set free from sin and Law, will inevitably worship with all their might like David did.

However, just as there was a digression in Israel from a time of ‘grace’ (under typological David) back into the outward practices of Law by Amos’ time (and into all the disobedience living under the Law inspires (See Romans 3:20, 5:20-21)), so the early church has also largely digressed from the pure grace which Jesus and his apostles preached (and the passionate worship which it inspired) into a modern “Christian” church that is largely contaminated with living by Law (just like the church of Galatia, See Galatians).

In other words, much of the church today has lost touch with the transforming power of God’s grace that the early church knew. Instead, much of us now live under a “gospel” that has been Judaized. That is, though we believe we are saved (or justified) by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), we believe we must “keep” our salvation and continue to find favor with God through our works (instead of faith, see Galatians, Hebrews 11:6). (While some professing Christians consciously believe this un-Biblical philosophy, many more of us ‘believe’ it on a subconscious level without even realizing it, for it is normal human nature.)

When we embrace this false, works-based “Judaized” gospel, it inevitably causes us to live under “New Testament Law” rather than by the grace of God. We then erroneously perceive the “ideal” Christian lifestyle to be one where we successfully keep all the commands we read of in the New Testament. Pursuing intimacy with Christ and  passionately worshiping him ceases to become our chief goal, (even though abiding in him like this is the only way to truly bear fruit John 15:1-8). “You who are trying to be justified by law have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4).

Furthermore, when we adhere to a NT Law-based form of Christianity, we become “Christian Pharisees”. Instead of trying to keep the minutae of the Old Testament Law (like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day) we simply try to keep the minutae of everything written in the New Testament (and assume that is our righteousness (Galatians 2:11-5:15) and that is our means of access to God in worship–rather than through faith in the blood of Christ (Hebrews 10:19-22)). (See “The Doorway to Spiritual Maturity” (Believer’s Road Series 2).)

Unfortunately, as we can clearly see from Israel’s sad history of sin, rebellion and exile, the holy Law of God did not ultimately help them live a righteous, worshipful life. Instead, the Law did what exactly what it was given for: to expose their sinful nature and their need for a Savior. “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20) and “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ, that we might become justified by faith. Now that faith has come we are no longer under the supervision of the law” (Galatians 3:24-25).

When we attempt to live by “NT Law”, we will only experience the exact same thing as the Israelites did when they attempted to live under “OT Law”. The holy law of God will only reveal our inability to keep it.

Such a “Christian” lifestyle is exceedingly frustrating because we can never attain what we strive for. It is a joyless, unvictorious, unworshipful, hypocritical Christian lifestyle; it’s not God’s way. This is why Paul asked the frustrated Galatians, who after receiving grace had reverted back to living by Law, “What has happened to all your joy?” (Galatians 4:15). There is no joy when we live under Law, for we can never live up to its standards. Neither can true worship flow out of such a lifestyle because it is devoid of grace, for grace and works (of the Law) are mutually exclusive (Romans 11:6).

(My drawing Empty Hands is about my experience as a Christian of finally giving up trying to live by NT Law and resting in the grace of God for my justification and sanctification (See “Empty Hands” (Believer’s Road Series)).

This is the precise issue the early church addressed in Acts 15 when they were confronted by “some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisess” who asserted, “The Gentiles [who have become believers] must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses” (Acts 15:5). The Council of Jerusalem came to the unanimous decision: NO, we believers do not live by Law but by grace through faith (Galatians 5:1-14)!

Amos’ prophecy about the Tabernacle of David became the authoritative Scriptural and prophetic seal behind this monumental apostolic decision.

As Mauro (quoting Smith) says: “The question was, Must the ritual law of Moses be obeyed by Christian converts? To this the apostle replied, ‘Certainly not; for inspired prophecy [Amos’ prophecy] declares that the kingdom of Christ is not to be a revival and extension of Mosaicism, but on the contrary a restoration of the tabernacle of David. And since in that sanctuary the Mosaic ritual had no place, so it can have no claims in the Christian [226] Church.'”

Therefore, let us once again heed the words of the apostles, the prophets and the Scriptures so that our feet may be firmly set on the path of pure grace and pure worship. Let us boldly forsake NT Law-based ‘Christianity’ which “has a form of godliness but denies its power” (2 Timothy 3:5).

May our Christian lives and churches be “a restoration of the tabernacle of David” rather than“a revival and extension of Mosaicism”.

May God give us fresh revelation that Christ is our righteousness and the end of the Law (1 Corinthians 1:30, Romans 10:4). May we fully embrace Jesus’ words, “It is finished” (John 19:30), resting in what HE has already done rather than in what WE do.

Then passionate, spiritual worship will overflow from us, for there is nothing left for us to DO but worship.

This is a true revival of the spirit of worship at The Tabernacle of David.

 

IN CONCLUSION:

Just as Amos saw that The Tabernacle of David had fallen down and needed to be repaired, so I also see that in our present day the Tabernacle of David (in the sense of the spiritual worship associated with it) has also largely fallen into a state of disrepair in modern Western Christendom.

Father, your heart is intimacy with your people. For this you suffered and died–to bring us into a loving relationship with yourself–that we may declare your praises and display your glory. Lord God, forgive us for we have wandered away from you, involving ourselves in all sorts of spiritual adultery and fornication, detestable idolatry and false and counterfeit religion. Lord God, we are guilty of the vilest sins against you, above all, turning our hearts away from you to go after other ‘lovers’. In your great grace and mercy, forgive us, Lord. Please wash us clean in the blood of the Lamb and restore us again. Our only hope is your atoning sacrifice for us, for we have been unfaithful and unrighteous. Create within us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us, an undivided heart and a faithful, worshipful heart.

Lord, we thank you for your precious promise that you are the one who builds your church. You are the one who is restoring the tabernacle of David. Father God, please, we beg you, restore us, the living stones of the tabernacle of David, to the fullness of your divine plan and intention for us, especially in regards to passionate, unashamed, loving, spiritual worship being restored in us once again. Please let the fullness of all your glory dwell within and shine forth through your people. Do all the fullness of what is in your heart and will, Lord God, that you may be glorified in your people and that your name may be proclaimed throughout the earth. All glory and honor and praise be to you, our Lord and God, the Lord God Almighty.

Breathe your Holy Spirit life and the fire of true worship into us once again. Father, in your great mercy, revive us again, as in days of old. O God, how we long for our day to be like the days of King David, when all of Israel brought up the ark of your presence and worshiped with all their might before you…the days of old when you were pleased to be strongly present with your people in favor, glory and power.

Father God, we beg you to cleanse us and rebuild us once again that the glory of the Lord may cover the earth as the waters cover the seas. May passionate worship flow forth abundantly out of your people, God. Father, please wall up the breaches amongst us where we have allowed sin and all kinds of detestable things to enter into our midst.  Please, Father, teach us how to truly worship you. According to your own good pleasure, Father, we ask you to please do this. According to your own heart and will, according to your zeal for your own name and glory, please do it, Father. Lord God, we beg you and we earnestly pray, use me and use us as instruments in your strong and mighty hands to restore the tabernacle of David back to how it should be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


VII) EXPLANATION OF THE SYMBOLISM IN THIS DRAWING

1) Bride and Bridegroom

“Then I, John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” (Revelation 21:2-3 NKJV)

We, the Church, are the bride of Christ. We are the New Jerusalem, the city and temple of God, made up of lively stones (1 Peter 2:4-6), within whom God dwells (“tabernacles”).

The Biblical imagery of bride and bridegroom is the perfect portrayal of intimacy with God (Song of Songs). He is our eternal lover, and there is no one beside him. David stripping off his royal robes and unashamedly expressing his heart of love for the Lord models the beautiful ‘nakedness’ and honesty between a husband and wife. This unashamed honesty is an essential spiritual element in worshiping the Lord in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:24-25).

(See “Worship: The Kiss of Intimacy” (Praise and Worship Series 2) and “The Joy of The Redeemed: King David Dancing” (Praise and Worship Series).

2) A Tabernacle…

The tabernacle (or tent) alludes to “the Tabernacle of David”from 2 Samuel 6:12-22.

The tent also refers to the Scripture Genesis 24:67, “Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her…” This Scripture speaks of a marriage between a man who was miraculously born and an heir of what God had promised (like Jesus) and a woman chosen by God to be his bride (similar to the church). Again, this references the bride and bridegroom imagery of intimacy with God.

3)…with a gold interior

“He prepared the inner sanctuary within the temple to set the ark of the covenant of the LORD there…So he overlaid the whole interior with gold.” (1 Kings 6:19, 22)

The ark of the covenant was identified with God’s dwelling place. When Solomon built the temple, the ark was put into the Most Holy Place (symbolic of God’s throneroom), a room entirely overlaid with pure gold. In my drawing the bride is in the presence of the Lord, her bridegroom, in the Most Holy Place.

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth–for your love is more delightful than wine…Take me away with you–let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.” (Song of Songs 1:2,4)

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22)

When Israel had plunged into idolatry with the golden calf (Exodus 32-33) and God threatened to withdraw his presence from the assembly, Moses pleaded, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” (Exodus 33:15-16).

When we assemble together as a church it must be for the purpose of communing with God. If the presence of God is not genuinely in our midst, then our services are completely in vain and a waste of time. If we are not meeting with God when we gather as a church, then what is it we are actually doing instead?

In our worship assemblies we must desire the Lord as described in Song of Songs 3:1-4:

“All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him. I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves. So I looked for him but did not find him. The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. ‘Have you seen the one my heart loves?’ Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother’s house, to the room of the one who conceived me.”

3) Darkness outside the Tabernacle

“And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:3-7)

Outside the Tabernacle it is dark for the presence of the Lord does not abide there. In describing the New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ, John says, “I did not see a temple in the city because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelation 21:22).

The darkness represents all places, forms and practices of ‘christianity’ that are not intimacy with God and that are not centered on an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus. Many people wander around and stumble in these dark forms of ‘christianity’, whether it be legalism, false teaching, pop ‘christian’ culture, churchianity, religiousity, etc. All of these false forms and distortions of genuine Christianity have one thing in common: None of them have intimacy with God and spiritual worship as their chief goal.

Those who stumble around in the darkness and do not come into the tent of intimacy grope around lost, unfocused, confused, frustrated and unfulfilled in their ‘Christian’ walk. They will continue to go around and around in circles until they choose to enter into the presence of God by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-22). Inside the tent we see Jesus face to face and experience him. That is true Christianity, that is true living, and there is no substitute. Everything aside from that is darkness for Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12)

4) Colourful worship ascending to the Lord.

“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3 KJV)

The praises are all colors of the rainbow, symbolizing God’s presence in them. “At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne” (Revelation 4:2-3)

We exist to worship God, and this is what we will do throughout eternity. This is where we’re meant to be. (See “Where We’re Meant To Be: Worshiping Jesus” (Praise and Worship Series) and “Worship: The Kiss of Intimacy” (Praise and Worship Series 2)). This is the only way to live life (Romans 12:1-2). This tabernacle is filled with pure, passionate praise and worship to God.

5) A red banner that says “Love” flying from the top of the tabernacle.

“He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.” (Song of Songs 2:4)

The Lord says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1-2). Absolute and full surrender of ourselves to God is our spiritual act of worship. Spiritual worship is a lot more wholistic (as the whole consumption of the burnt offerings of the Old Testament symbolized) than singing worship songs once a week.

The only thing that is strong enough to cause us to spiritually worship by offering ourselves as living sacrifices is God’s love for us. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12). The only way we can possibly love God to the point of laying down our lives in worship to him is because of his love for us. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

For this reason, I have personally found that God’s love for me, moreso than gratitude for his blessings and gifts, adoration of his wonderful character, awe over Creation or his many mighty works, fuels my worship of God more passionately and more perpetually than anything else. “…for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away” (Song of Songs 8:6-7). This is why I chose to include God’s banner of love over me (us). In my personal experience, God’s love is the best fuel for the fire of worship.

The flagpole of the banner is a cross, and the banner itself is blood red. This is because the greatest demonstration of God’s love to us is through the sacrifice of his Son, that we may be reconciled to God. It directly references the Scripture:

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:6-11).

(See also “Hosea” (John The Baptist Artworks Series) and “A Man After God’s Own Heart” (Believer’s Road Series 2))