That I May Dwell Among Them

That I May Dwell Among Them


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What does Israel’s tabernacle mean for Christians today?

The Tabernacle Narrative comprises passages in Exodus and Leviticus that detail the construction, furnishing, and liturgical use of the tabernacle. Given its genre and style, the narrative is often passed over by those reading Scripture for theological insight.

But what can these complex passages reveal about Christ? Gary Anderson shows how these passages shed light on incarnation and atonement both in ancient Israel’s theology and in Christian theology. Anderson explains how the chronology of the narrative reflects sacred time, how the Israelites saw divine features in the physical aspects of the tabernacle, and how Isaac’s sacrifice foreshadowed the sacrificial rite revealed to Moses at Mt. Sinai.

Ultimately, Anderson shows how the Old Testament can deepen our understanding of the gospel. For Athanasius and many church fathers, God’s “indwelling” in the tabernacle offers a unique witness to the nature of incarnation, supplementing the story told in the gospels. Likewise, careful analysis of the purpose of sacrifice at the tabernacle clarifies the purpose of Christ’s passion. Far from connoting penal substitution, sacrifice in the Old Testament demonstrates self-emptying as an antidote to sin. Theologians, pastors, and serious readers of the Bible will appreciate how Anderson’s canonical and literary analysis of the Tabernacle Narrative illuminates Christian theology.