1 Chronicles 16 recorded the commissioning of the Tabernacle of David in the City of David. I didn’t even know there is a Tabernacle of David until Joseph Prince preached about it from Acts 15:16 and Amos 9:11-12. What is it and why is it significant?
In Acts 15:16-17, James quoted from Amos 9:11-12 to explain the decision of the Church in Jerusalem not to insist that Gentile believers keep the Law of Moses in order to be considered saved. The whole discussion was recorded in some details in Acts 15:1-29.
In short, Peter described the Law of Moses as a yoke that nobody can bear. He understood that Moses’ Law was created to reveal our sinfulness. James agreed with Peter and added to it by citing Prophet Amos and concluded that they should not trouble Gentile believers and to write to them about this decision.
When James cited Prophet Amos, he was essentially saying that by not imposing the Law of Moses on the Gentiles, Amos’ prophecy is now fulfilled. What is this prophecy?
11 In that day I will raise up the tent of David who is fallen, and close up its breaches, and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; 12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations who are called by my name,” says Yahweh who does this.Amos 9:11-12 WEB
It is a restoration of God’s presence.
The Tabernacle of David and the Law of Moses
What does the Tabernacle of David have to do with the Law of Moses?
The most visual representation of Moses’ Law is the Tabernacle of Moses, also known as the Tent of Meeting.
At the time the Tabernacle of David was being set up, the Tabernacle of Moses was still in existence at Gibeon. However, the Ark of the Covenant was no longer with the Tabernacle of Moses. It was at the Tabernacle of David.
The primary function of the Tabernacle of Moses is to perform atonement which was done on the Day of Atonement Feast (now known as Yom Kippur). It is considered the most important feast of the Jewish nation. The description of the day is recorded in Leviticus 16:8-34. Further details are added in Leviticus 23:26-32 and Numbers 29:7-11.
It requires the High Priest to make an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the people in order to bring reconciliation between God and the people. Besides, cleansing at the laver, burning the offerings at the altar, it also involves the sprinkling of the blood of a bull and goat (both sin offerings to God) on the mercy seat on top of the Ark of the Covenant and before the mercy seat.
This atonement ceremony is no longer possible after the Ark of the Covenant was taken out of the Tabernacle of Moses (read 1 Samuel 4:1-11 for the account) during the battlefield at Shiloh. The Israelites abused it by using the Ark as a mascot or talisman to help them win their battles. It was captured by the Philistines instead.
When David ascended the throne, he took a while to recover the Ark of the Covenant and returned to Jerusalem. For some reason, he did not move the Tabernacle of Moses.
Instead, he pitched a tent somewhere in the City of David and placed the Ark of the Covenant there. And it is called the Tabernacle of David. It stood there until King Solomon built the Temple of God and placed the Ark of the Covenant in it.
It is interesting that James referred to the Tabernacle of David when he argued against applying the Law of Moses to Gentile believers. What makes this tabernacle different from the Tabernacle of Moses and Solomon’s Temple?
While the Ark of the Covenant is at the Tabernacle of David, David commanded continuous praise and worship before it. Many of our beloved psalms were written here. There was no mention of the atonement rituals during this period.
There were little details about the tent too, unlike the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon. 1 Chronicles 15 and 16 were full of details about the people, their clothing and their singing and dancing before the Ark.
It seems to be a simple construct that allowed direct access to the Ark of the Covenant. Isn’t it a picture of the church that is under the new covenant of grace?
11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they are.”Acts 15:11 WEB
No wonder James cited Amos’ prophecy. It was fulfilled in his lifetime!
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For God so loved you, He sent His only begotten Son to die on the cross for you. You are precious to Him.