Monday, September 18, 2006

where is the Tabernacle?

An interesting question in regard to the Tabernacle was raised, and I started writing out a response in the comment section, but I realized it was getting too long, so I think it more practical and helpful to post it:

The question was: "Did they ever find the Tabernacle?" And I am understanding that as in the original Tabernacle the Israelites built during the time of Moses.

That is an interesting question: one I have not heard so far in regard to the Tabernacle.

People tend to be far more interested in finding Noah's Ark...

In any case, to my knowledge, the answer is No, the Tabernacle was never found - not even a piece of it.

The Bible gives no record as to what happened to the real Tabernacle the Israelites had built during the time of Moses.

Immediately after entering Canaan, the promised land under Joshua (Moses's successor), the Tabernacle was located at Gilgal (Joshua 4:19), and the area of Shechem and Mount Ebal (Joshua 8:30-33).

The Tabernacle was then established firmly at Shiloh for many years (Joshua 18:1-10), continuing through all the period of the Judges.

Because of their sinful behavior, God allowed the Israelites to be defeated at Shiloh, at which time the Ark was captured by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:3,11). It was at this point that the Ark and the original Tabernacle parted company for many months, perhaps permanently.

When the Ark was recovered from the Philistines 7 months later (1 Samuel 6:1-2), it was taken to Abinadab's house in Kiriath Jearim (1 Samuel 6:19-7:1).

Although the Ark is again mentioned in the Tabernacle of The Lord when it was later relocated at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39), there is some doubt as to whether it was the original Tabernacle.

When the Ark was later moved to Jerusalem by King David (2 Samuel 6:1-2), after temporarily staying in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite (2 Samuel 6:6-17), it was just placed "inside the tent that David had pitched for it."

Even if the original Tabernacle had survived to Gibeon, it obviously hadn't made it to Jerusalem - otherwise, David would almost certainly have used it.

Later, the Ark was placed in the new Temple that was built in the time of King Solomon around 950 B.C. (later destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.) which was a lavish (and definitely more permanent) version of the Tabernacle with wood, stone, gold and costly materials during his prosperous reign.

I think it's safe to assume that the perishable portions of the Tabernacle, especially the ropes, cloths, and wooden parts along with leather (animal skins for covering of the Tabernacle) most likely wore out over the centuries and the Levites who were in charge of the Tabernale probably stored it away somewhere.

But since Solomon had built a more "permanent" place of worship and sacrifice for the Israelites, the original components of the tabernacle (whichever actually survived the times) were most likely forgotten and perhaps even lost and abandoned (except the ark).

I don't know of anyone who has ever made an archaelogical discovery of the Tabernacle or even the Ark of the Covenant, though some have come forward for discovery of Noak's Ark.

And most likely the reason for that is there are many who doubt the historical accuracy of the Great Flood during Noah's times and so the Christian Archaelogists are eager for some discovery that would confirm such catastrophic event thousands of years ago, whereas no one doubts the existence of the Tabernacle - deeply rooted in Jewish history (though some may doubt glory of God coming down in cloud or fire, etc).

No one questions that the Israelites had built a Tabernacle for their God. That in itself doesn't challenge anyone's beliefs, whether he or she be a foreign god worshiper or an atheist. But it matters a great deal that a Great judgmental Flood destroyed every breathing thing on earth including sinful men by God.

Whew! That was a long-winded answer!

I know - the answer was way too long, but before anyone is impressed I could find all the references, I cheated and got most of the reference portion of my response from an internet source. Thank God for www!

But it is interesting to read the book of the Judges which gives a tragic yet comic history of the Israelites who in their fallen state completely missed the whole purpose and meaning of the Ark of the Covenant and viewed it only as a means for worldly victory and protection from harm (as if just "having" it in their possession meant they were in favor with God), instead of the means by which God desired to communicate, govern and relate to His chosen people.

Hope this helps!

1 comment:

little jane said...

oooo- i see i see!
muchas gracias :D
i must tell paul to read this...