Trinity Concepts (1.12) The Tabernacle of Moses

Holy of Holies

Inner Court

Outer Court





“Now if He (Jesus) were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for “See” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” (Heb. 8:4-5)

Moses’ Tabernacle, according to this passage, was a “copy and shadow” of things in heaven.  It was a picture of something more profound than the simple elements from which it was made.

“The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?”  Jesus answered and said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”  The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”  But He was speaking of the temple of His body.” (Jn. 2:18-21)  In this passage, Jesus analogized the temple to His body.

The Apostle Paul echoes this idea, regarding those who are united to Jesus through faith.  “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (I Cor. 3:16)  “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?  But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (I Cor. 6:15,17)

There is a definite pattern of correlation between the Tabernacle and the Human Being.  The Tabernacle is three parts: 1) The Outer Court, 2) The Inner Court, and 3) The Holy of Holies.

The Apostle Paul shows man as tripartite, as well, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Thess. 5:23)  Paul shows man as: 1) Body, 2) Soul, and 3) Spirit.

In comparing the Tabernacle to the Human Being, it becomes evident that the Spirit of Man correlates to the Holy of Holies, the Soul of Man correlates to the Inner Court, and the Body of Man correlates to the Outer Court.

It is even more interesting to note that the Inner Court of the Tabernacle held three distinct objects: 1) The Bread of the Presence Table, 2) The Seven-lamped Menorah, and 3) The Altar of Incense.

As the Inner Court correlates to the Soul of Man, each of these three things also correlates to a specific aspect of the Human Soul.  The Old Testament’s definition of man’s heart (Heb. ‘leb’) is consistent with the three attributes of man’s Mind, Will and Emotions.

The Mind correlates to the Lamp-stand, being illumined with understanding.  The Emotions correlate to the Bread, giving sustenance to the emotion-endoderm relationship (see Trinity Concepts: Food Groups).  The Will correlates to the Altar of Incense, as an obedient will through prayer is as a fragrant aroma to the Father. (see Trinity Concepts: Christian Activity)

The Holy of Holies correlates to Man’s Spirit, as this is where God’s Presence dwells in the inner man of the believer.  “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (I Cor. 6:17)   The Outer Court correlates to Man’s Body, as it is openly visible in the natural realm.

When Jesus breathed His last breath on the cross and cried out, "It is finished!", the veil that divided the Holy of Holies from the Inner Court of the temple was torn, indicating that God’s Presence would no longer inhabit the Tabernacle made by man’s hands.  Rather, He would now, as of the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1), live in the very bodies of those who are united to Christ through faith.  “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His.”” (2 Tim. 2:19)  “You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (I Pet. 2:5)

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” (I Cor. 6:19-20)

The Tabernacle is a simple picture of Who Christ is, and who we are in Him, inhabited by God Himself, illumined by His light, refreshed by His sustenance, fragrant with His motivation to be a blessing and benefit to the whole earth.


(for more study, see the Trinity Concepts Key)