For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
Rebuilding of the tabernacle of David
The rebuilding of the tabernacle of David as a type of the restoration of the church, with its varied ministries.
In chapter 15 of Acts we have the so-called Council of Jerusalem. Such a big problem had arisen, that the apostles had to gather the whole church to solve it. The church had its first theological conflict, over faith and practice, as: "... certain men came down from Judaea taught the brethren, unless you are circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved" (Acts 15:1).
Paul and Barnabas began to argue that the Gentiles should not keep the rites of the law. There was a great deal of discussion, and the apostles gathered all the brothers to settle this once and for all.
Paul and Barnabas, "When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.” The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith" (v. 3-9).
Then Peter gives testimony of the visit to the house of Cornelius. "And when they were silent, James answered, saying, Brethren, listen to me. Simeon has declared how God first concerned Himself with the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, as it is written: After this I will return and rebuild the tabernacle of David, which is fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up for the rest of mankind so that they may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord."
James summarizes the conclusion of the first church council, 'Brothers, these are the words that the prophets spoke, “I will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen."
The tabernacle of David
What is the tabernacle of David? There is the tabernacle of Moses, Solomon's temple, the reconstruction of the temple and Herod's temple in the time of Jesus. So what is the tabernacle of David?
There is an episode before the rebuilding of the temple by Nehemiah and Ezra. It is a revelation of what the Lord's church would be. James says, 'The fact that the Gentiles are being converted, this is the tabernacle of David'. He does not say, 'This is the tabernacle of Moses, or the rebuilding of the temple of Solomon'. He says: 'This is the tabernacle of David that has fallen'.
In 1 Chronicles 15, Nehemiah reveals an episode prior to the rebuilding of the temple. When Joshua established himself in Canaan, little by little, the meaning of the ark of the covenant and the tabernacle of Moses were being lost. They were losing interest in the sight of the Israelites. In the times of Samuel, the lamp of the Lord was going out; there was no prophecy, no faith. They had only rituals. The decline was great. There was no word of God.
The ark was captured by the Philistines. That is tremendous. This was the ark of the covenant where God's presence was! Israel lost the ark, lost the glory of God. Therefore, David appears, who is a type of Christ. He takes back the ark and carries it to Jerusalem. He gathers the people, takes the ark and puts it in a tent. Then he distributes the instruments. With cymbals and trumpets they begin to sing. There is an outpouring of ministry that is a type of the church.
In 1 Chronicles 15, there is no longer the atrium or the holy place; there is only the Holy of Holies, and there is only one occupant: the presence of God. It Is Christ (David), who takes the presence of God and opens it up to the people so that all the people are involved as priests of God, and they offer up a sacrifice in which everyone participates. All the people eat the bread, all the people take the wine - the church, the tabernacle of David that was fallen.
"David ... prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched a tent ... So they brought the ark of God and put it in the middle of the tent that David had pitched for it" (1 Chron. 15:1; 16:1).
Undoubtedly, the ark represented the presence of God, God's dwelling place. David represents Christ, who takes, establishes and places the ark under the coverings. The coverings in this tabernacle of David, are the church, which is the container of this dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Only the coverings, and in the midst, the glory of God.
John says: "And we beheld His glory ... and He dwelt among us." The Lord Jesus Christ was the tabernacle of God who walked in this world, as He went throughout the regions of Palestine. Now, the church is the tabernacle of God, and in the midst of the church, that which gives meaning to what she is, is the presence of God.
The holocaust and the peace offerings
"And when David had finished offering the burnt offering and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord" (1 Chron. 16: 2). David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. The burnt offering was the sacrifice which was pleasing to God. It was not necessarily an atoning sacrifice for the people, but rather represents Christ offering Himself to God.
Here it talks about the burnt offering: "Walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up to God as a sacrifice and fragrant aroma”: as Ephesians says. This burnt offering is the sacrifice of Christ; It is Christ on the cross, pleasing the Father's heart, which also reaches out to us in an expiatory offering on our behalf. But the primary meaning of the burnt offering was to please God, to be offered up to Him.
But the tabernacle of David doesn’t just stop there; it says: "David finished offering up the burnt offering and the peace offerings." Do you know what the sacrifice of peace is? The sacrifice of peace is what the worshipper hands over, and the priest must divide it up to make an offering to God, another part for the priest and another part for the one who offered it. (Lev. 7: 29-34). How interesting.
Leviticus 1: 8-9. "Then the priests the sons of Aaron shall lay the parts, the head and the fat of the intestines, on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar; they will wash the legs and intestines with water, and the priest shall burn everything on the altar; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire, a fragrant aroma to the Lord."
The whole animal was offered up. Nothing remained. It represents the perfect work of the Lord Jesus. His whole heart, his soul, his feelings, his thoughts, his will. All of it, was given up as a burnt offering to God. Blessed be our Lord Jesus!
That is the burnt offering that David presented there in the tabernacle, which according to James, had fallen down, and now God has raised up, which is the church of Jesus Christ.
Sacrifices of peace. A part for the Lord, another part for the priesthood and another part for the family that were offering this sacrifice. This speaks of participation. Not only the offering up to God, but we also partake of that offering. We eat His flesh and blood; we are crucified, and planted together with Him.
This sacrifice of peace is not just observing the sacrifice, but also enjoying and eating the sacrifice, just like the priests. They ate the heart, the chest and the shoulder, as if to say that for the priest are the heartfelt affections of Christ, because we were chosen by the sheer pleasure of his will. So we share in His feelings, and in His power. These are the sacrifices of peace.
"And David assembled all Israel in Jerusalem to bring up the ark of Jehovah to its place, which he had prepared ... So David and the elders of Israel and the captains over thousands, went to bring the ark of the covenant of Jehovah from the house of Obed-edom with joy ... Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD, with shouting and the sound of horns and trumpets and cymbals, and psalteries and harps "( 1 Chronicles 15:3, 25, 28).
Participation of all the saints
All Israel participated in bringing up the ark of the covenant, which demonstrates the participation of all the saints. No one should be excluded. There is no special category or class; there is no separation between those who are ministers, those who serve and those who hear. Everyone participates in the blessing of having the ark of the covenant in their midst. Where do we find this? In the church of Jesus Christ. We all participate.
"And he distributed to all Israel, both men and women, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a raisin cake" (1 Chron. 16: 3). Men and women. Some church assemblies today seem to be men, as if the woman did not exist. And we're talking about the church of God!
Each one was given the measure of the gift of Christ. Men and women participated in the sacrifice; They ate the bread, they ate the cake. And in some versions, where it says: "They ate a raisin cake," it says: "They took a glass of wine." That is, there was a supper. They participated in the meat of the sacrifice, they partook of the bread, and drank the wine - The Lord's Supper was already in the tabernacle of David. Praise the Lord!
We all have gifts, we all participate. No one, not by their gender, or social or economic status, can be excluded from the Lord's church. The ark is in the tabernacle of God, and all the people around it were praising and glorifying Christ. David, before the ark, was ministering in the sanctuary, as it says: "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you" (Psalm 22:22).
Clothed in fine linen
"God helped the Levites who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. And David was dressed in fine linen, and all the Levites who bore the ark, and the singers ... David also wore a linen ephod "(1 Chronicles 15:27-28).
Revelation speaks of the bride who is clothed in fine linen which are the righteous acts of the saints. What are the righteous acts of the saints? The deeds, the conduct of the saints. "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father." So, it is righteous conduct, a manner of life that should be seen, that others must observe.
The ephod was part of a priestly garment that was worn over the shoulders and held the breast piece where there were twelve stones with the names of the children of Israel; it represents the fact that now in the church of God no one walks alone. We all carry on our shoulders the burdens of others. No one can stand before God as an individual alone, separated from his brothers, as if God's will for him was exclusive from the person standing at his side.
In the tabernacle of David, in the church of God, the will of God passes through me and affects my brothers, and they also have an impact on me. No one can see himself or feel himself to be separated from everyone else. I cannot live alone. I am part of a community, of a divine fullness, called the church of Jesus Christ.
So when someone prays, he doesn’t only pray for himself. When you pray, you also carry your brothers on your shoulders, you present them before God. In this sense, we must build a collective consciousness. We are all servants of one another. We cannot act separately. We all carry each other on our shoulders. We should have a reverent fear regarding this, and act in accordance with the body of Christ, with what the Lord has revealed to us as brothers.
The order of service. There are many other aspects here which upon reading them, you will realize that it is talking about the Lord's church. "And he put before the ark of Jehovah ministers from the Levites, to remember and confess and praise the Lord God of Israel" (16: 4). David ordered, then he put in place singers who ministered, and others who carried the ark of the covenant. Here we find, each one being supported, and waiting for each other. The ministers, the Levites, who carried the Lord - that is the church. Is it so hard for you to put up with your brother, to wait for him? "Bear with one another."
Here is the collective ministry of the saints, where everyone participates. But there is also an order. God orders the body as he wants it. He gives gifts, but he doesn’t just scatter His gifts. There is a specific place for each one, but that place is not contradictory nor does it cause friction with those around it. Everyone in his own place, exercising his function in mutual respect.
We don’t all have the gift of ministering through music; not all of us have the grace to speak. We have different gifts, and God puts us in an orderly manner inside His house, each with his own gift. But everyone is involved. That is the point. The question is: how are you participating in the ministry of all the saints?
The church is the tabernacle of David that had fallen down and which God is raising up. Christ, represented in David; the tabernacle or covering, which is the church, and the ark of the covenant, which is the presence of God. All the people ministering and rejoicing. Everyone rising up in an orderly manner to glorify the Lord. Blessed be the Lord!
Synthesis of a message given in Rucacura 2007.