Introduction to the Reading: Moses went up Mount Sinai and was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. While he was there, the Lord gave him detailed instructions on how the Tabernacle should be built. First, people brought freewill offerings of precious metals, gems, wood and other materials needed to make the Tabernacle. Then gifted artisans, specially chosen by the Lord, made the curtains for the Tabernacle, the ark covered in gold, two cherubim of gold, the gold lampstand, and every other part of the Tabernacle. When they had finished all of this work, it was time to use the Tabernacle for the first time.
Read in Exodus 39:32-43; 40:1-38 to find out how the children of Israel set up the Tabernacle for the first time, how Aaron and his sons prepared for their role as priests, and how the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle. You may also want to read portions of Exodus 24-31 and 35-39 for more details about the Tabernacle.
Ideas for discussion
- Why did the Lord tell Moses to build a Tabernacle? (So the children of Israel would have a place to look to the Lord and worship Him on their journey.)
- How was this Tabernacle different from a temple or a church building we use today? (It was designed by the Lord, it was made of materials donated by the children of Israel, it was made by skilled craftsmen who were Israelites, and it could be moved from one place to another.)
- What sign did the Lord give the children of Israel to signal His presence with them? (The cloud over the Tabernacle by day and the fire at night.)
- The two tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments written on them by the finger of God were most precious. How does the design of the ark and the Holy of Holies show this?
- The Tabernacle with the Lord’s commandments were placed in the center of the Israelitish camp. We, too, can try to center our lives on the Lord and His spiritual laws.
- The lampstand gave light in the holy place all day and all night, just as the Lord gives us the light of truth when we are in a good place to receive it.
- Think of some ways that you could "build a tabernacle" in your life. What kinds of things help you to remember the Lord? In what ways can you worship Him?
Read more about the Tabernacle
- “Making the Tabernacle” (ages 7-14)
The children of Israel built the Tabernacle as a place for the Lord to be present with them. We all need the Lord to be close to us. We need to build a place for the Lord in our hearts, just as the Israelites built the Tabernacle.
- The Tabernacle Furnishings
The Lord told the Israelites to build a beautiful tabernacle that could be used for worship as they traveled in the wilderness.
- “The Holy of Holies” by Robert S. Junge (ages 7-14)
The Lord opened Moses’ spiritual eyes and showed him just exactly how they should build the Tabernacle and just exactly how they should worship the Lord.
- “The Holy Place” by Robert S. Junge (ages 7-14)
There were three special pieces of furniture in the Holy Place: a table of showbread, a seven-branched golden lampstand, and an altar of incense.
- “The Outer Court” by Robert S. Junge (ages 7-14)
The things in the outer court were made of brass. The outer court is like the outward aspects of our lives, and the brass pictures the good things we can do for others every day.
- “Becoming a Church” by Philip B. Schnarr (ages 18 and up)
The Tabernacle, and later the Temple, served the Children of Israel as a house of worship. And it behooves us to also set aside a time and special place to worship the Lord.
- “Homes of Our Own” by Robert S. Junge (ages 18 and up)
When we think of our own homes, we want to be sure that we provide a place for the Lord in them.
Projects and activities for various ages
- The Tabernacle of Israel Video (ages 11 and up)
A detailed look at a scale model of the tabernacle of Israel owned by Glencairn Museum and learn about the rituals described in the book of Exodus.
- Make a Paper Figure of the High Priest (ages 4-10)
Print this color picture of a high priest with his special garments.
- Moses on Mount Sinai Coloring Page
While Moses is on Mount Sinai, the Lord gives him the Ten Commandments.
- Gifts for Building the Tabernacle Coloring Page
The Israelites offered precious metals, precious stones, wood and other materials needed to build the Tabernacle.
- Offering Our Best to the Lord
What can we give to the Lord and to our church? The story of how the Tabernacle for the children of Israel was built shows us some ideas.
- Cut and Fold Model of the Ark of the Covenant (ages 7-14)
Color and assemble this model of the ark with the cherubim facing each other.
- Cherubim on the Ark Coloring Page by Lisa S. Buss
The Ten Commandments were put in the wooden ark that was covered with gold. Two golden cherubim were made to go on top of the Ark.
- Model of the Ark with a Box (ages 7-14)
Here is an easy way to make a model of the Ark using a small box.
- Exploring the Tabernacle
Use the beautiful color pictures of the Tabernacle Model (from the Glencairn Museum) to explore the furnishings of the Tabernacle.
- The Glory of the Lord Fills the Tabernacle Coloring Page
When the Tabernacle was finished, there was a cloud above it during the day and a fire at night.
- The Tabernacle by Lisa S. Buss
Shows the Tabernacle with the outer court set up around it and nearby tents of the Israelites.
- Looking at New Church Sanctuaries
If we compare our church buildings and worship services to the design of the Tabernacle, we may find some interesting similarities and differences.
- Teen Prayer on the Tabernacle
Lord God, let us make a sanctuary for You in our hearts, that You may dwell with us forever.
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