‘For the first time, an official divine commandment regarding setting up the “House of God” had been issued to the people of God, on their way to Jerusalem, as the symbol of heaven, the dwelling place of the Lord. It was in the form of a tent ahead of their tents to be pitched wherever they camp.
The design of that tent was not a man’s design but was directly dictated by God to Moses, after he had strictly fasted forty days and forty nights on the mountain. He was told, “See that you make everything according to the pattern which was shown to you on the mountain”. (Heb. 8:5; Exod. 25:9). In fact, the completed outcome of the tent; its name, exterior shape, interior construction, contents, rites, and movements were produced according to a precise divine plan that revealed to us the “Mystery of God’s House”.
1. As far as the name is concerned it was called “miskan” in Hebrew, which means “the dwelling place”, as if God wished it known that His tent resides among our tents, so that every heart is opened to Him, and turned into a dwelling for Him.
It was also called “ohel mo, ed” in Hebrew, or “the meeting place”, which signifies that the people are not assembled within to worship God, but that it is rather a place wherein God is present among His people. Through clouds and glory He visibly uncovers Himself to them (Exod. 40: 34).
2. Concerning its shape and external look, it was roofed with badgers’ skin, goat’s and sheep’s hair…, needless to say, it held inner beauty. All its attractions were inside. Such is the case with the House of God. On the outside, it is stones, bricks and wood, but it bears hidden divine glories announced to the humble soul by the Holy Spirit.
3. With regards to the tabernacle’s internal design and contents, all its details exposed God’s saving deeds and as a mystery of God’s dwelling among thepeople. It included the screen, the laver of brass, the golden lamp stand, the table of showbread, the ark of testament, the altar of burnt-offerings etc.
A. The Screen: This makes the “Holy of Holies”, which is entered once a year, only by one mediator (the high-priest), bearing blood in his hand, which acts as the passport for all mankind, giving access to God’s Holies. It is the mystery of “heavens’ openness on the people”. This Mediator is the Messiah, the sole High-Priest who “entered once for all into the Holy place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but His own Blood, having obtained eternal redemption”.
B The Laver: This is employed to wash and purify the body, symbolising baptism in the Church of the New Testament. It grants the baptised a new birth in order that he may become entirely holy and a temple of the Lord in which the Spirit resides through the Mystery of Chrism.
C. The Golden Lamp stand: With its seven lamps, it declares the church’s illumination through the continuous acts of the Spirit.
D. The Table Of Showbread: This refers to the care of Christ for His Church. He feeds the people with His own body and blood, that they abide in Him.
E. The Ark Of Testament: With its inner contents uncovers the unity between God and people aiming them to participate in His Heavenly glories eternally.’
– Fr Tadros Y. Malaty – The Church the House of God