God Leaves the Building

Gnadenstuhl. Mercy Seat.

God Leaves the Building
Ezekiel 9, 10 and 11 at 9:3; 10:4; 10:18-19; 11:22-23

Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house…. And the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub to the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord…. Then the glory of the Lord went out from the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim. And the cherubim lifted up their wings and mounted up from the earth…. And they stood at the entrance of the east gate of the house of the Lord, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them…. Then the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them. And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city. (from Ezekiel 9:3; 10:4; 10:18-19, and 11:22-23; ESV)

If you aren’t paying attention, you can miss the bit in the Bible where God packs up his two cherubim and leaves his room, his building, and his city.

We Christians like to think of God being everywhere in all places at all times. This is true enough, but the Bible makes it clear that wherever else God makes himself present, for lengthy portions of the Biblical Old Testament timeline our almighty Lord has a special room inside a special building inside a special city for His special manifested in person, up close and personal presence.

The Jews created a word in Hebrew for the cloud and smoke and fire and light and thunder and voice of the physical manifestation of God’s presence in physical space. This is the Shechinah. This word does not appear in the Bible, but its subject matter shows up often enough in the Bible for it to deserve its own name.

Exodus 13:21-22, KJV: And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

Exodus 19:16-18, KJV: 16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

The Shechinah appears at various places in places in the Biblical narrative, but it is mentioned most often in connection with two, maybe three, physical structures and then a most special room and space inside these. A variety of Hebrew words and short phrases are used to name and describe these structures and the special room, and in English we see these as “dwelling,” “sanctuary,” “house” and more specifically with proper names:

God’s special buildings:
Tent of Meeting
Tabernacle
Temple
God’s very most special room:
Most Holy Place, also referred to as the Holy of Holies

Our Bible Bit is simply Ezekiel’s account of God leaving His Holy of Holies room in 586 BC. From the King James Version:

Ezekiel 9:3; 10:4, 18-19; 11:22-23 (KJV) 9:3 And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which [had] the writer’s inkhorn by his side; … 10:4 Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, [and stood] over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’S glory. … 10:18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims. 19 And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also [were] beside them, and [every one] stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD’S house; and the glory of the God of Israel [was] over them above…. 11:22 Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel [was] over them above. 23 And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which [is] on the east side of the city.

God has finally had enough of his backsliding people, corrupt priests, and pagan kings. So He and the two cherubim which accompany him exit the Most Holy Place, the Holy of Holies, vacate the temple Building, and leave the temple complex and Jerusalem itself via the east gate. A lengthy 380 years of God’s patience with, let us say, “imperfect” Hebrew temple care and worship is finished. An additional lengthy 480 years of God’s dwelling in the tabernacle is, likewise, done.

In the timeline of Jewish Biblical history, the dedications of new national houses of worship (tabernacle, temple) and their subsequent destructions are among the most notable markers. Yet here in Ezekiel, this most notable event can simply slide by while your eyes are fogged over from reading Ezekiel’s visionary, apocalyptic account of weird, four-faced creatures with six wings, gliding around on spinning wheels moving this way and that. And this assumes you have bothered to read wacky Ezekiel in the first place.

In case you haven’t read Ezekiel in a while, we present here the full chapters 9, 10, and 11 from Ezekiel, with Ezekiel’s vision of the temple destruction which has already occurred. The prophet is now in Babylon somewhere alongside the Chebar canal, and he tells us the vision occurred in 572. Ezekiel’s visions are set in the context of his (likely) personal witness to the destruction of Jerusalem and the first (Solomon’s) temple 14 years prior, in 586. Having previously witnessed the temple destruction from a human perspective, God now shows Ezekiel the historical event from a supernatural vantage point.

From Young’s Literal Translation, Ezekiel 9; 10; 11 — try to pay attention and watch for God leaving his room:

9:1 And He crieth in mine ears — a loud voice — saying, ‘Drawn near have inspectors of the city, and each his destroying weapon in his hand.’ 2 And lo, six men are coming from the way of the upper gate, that is facing the north, and each his slaughter-weapon in his hand, and one man in their midst is clothed with linen, and a scribe’s inkhorn at his loins, and they come in, and stand near the brazen altar. 3 And the honour of the God of Israel hath gone up from off the cherub, on which it hath been, unto the threshold of the house. 4 And He calleth unto the man who is clothed with linen, who hath the scribe’s inkhorn at his loins, and Jehovah saith unto him, ‘Pass on into the midst of the city, into the midst of Jerusalem, and thou hast made a mark on the foreheads of the men who are sighing and who are groaning for all the abominations that are done in its midst.’ 5 And to the others he said in mine ears, ‘Pass on into the city after him, and smite; your eye doth not pity, nor do ye spare; 6 aged, young man, and virgin, and infant, and women, ye do slay — to destruction; and against any man on whom [is] the mark ye do not go nigh, and from My sanctuary ye begin.’ 7 And they begin among the aged men who [are] before the house, and He saith unto them, ‘Defile the house, and fill the courts with the wounded, go forth.’ And they have gone forth and have smitten in the city. 8 And it cometh to pass, as they are smiting, and I — I am left — that I fall on my face, and cry, and say, ‘Ah, Lord Jehovah, art Thou destroying all the remnant of Israel, in Thy pouring out Thy wrath on Jerusalem?’ 9 And He saith unto me, ‘The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah [is] very very great, and the land is full of blood, and the city hath been full of perverseness, for they have said: Jehovah hath forsaken the land, and Jehovah is not seeing. 10 And I also, Mine eye doth not pity, nor do I spare; their way on their own head I have put.’ 11 And lo, the man clothed with linen, at whose loins [is] the inkhorn, is bringing back word, saying, ‘I have done as Thou hast commanded me.’ (YLT)

10:1 And I look, and lo, on the expanse that [is] above the head of the cherubs, as a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne, He hath been seen over them. 2 And He speaketh unto the man clothed with linen, and saith, ‘Go in unto the midst of the wheel, unto the place of the cherub, and fill thy hands with coals of fire from between the cherubs, and scatter over the city.’ And he goeth in before mine eyes. 3 And the cherubs are standing on the right side of the house, at the going in of the man, and the cloud hath filled the inner court, 4 and become high doth the honour of Jehovah above the cherub, over the threshold of the house, and the house is filled with the cloud, and the court hath been filled with the brightness of the honour of Jehovah. 5 And a noise of the wings of the cherubs hath been heard unto the outer court, as the voice of God — the Mighty One — in His speaking. 6 And it cometh to pass, in His commanding the man clothed with linen, saying, ‘Take fire from between the wheel, from between the cherubs,’ and he goeth in and standeth near the wheel, 7 that the [one] cherub putteth forth his hand from between the cherubs unto the fire that [is] between the cherubs, and lifteth up, and giveth into the hands of him who is clothed with linen, and he receiveth, and cometh forth. 8 And there appeareth in the cherubs the form of a hand of man under their wings, 9 and I look, and lo, four wheels near the cherubs, one wheel near the one cherub, and another wheel near the other cherub, and the appearance of the wheels [is] as the colour of a beryl stone. 10 As to their appearances, one likeness [is] to them four, as it were the wheel in the midst of the wheel. 11 In their going, on their four sides they go; they turn not round in their going, for to the place whither the head turneth, after it they go, they turn not round in their going. 12 And all their flesh, and their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, are full of eyes round about; to them four [are] their wheels. 13 To the wheels — to them is one calling in mine ears, ‘O wheel!’ 14 And four faces [are] to each; the face of the one [is] the face of the cherub, and the face of the second the face of man, and of the third the face of a lion, and of the fourth the face of an eagle. 15 And the cherubs are lifted up, it [is] the living creature that I saw by the river Chebar. 16 And in the going of the cherubs, the wheels go beside them; and in the cherubs lifting up their wings to be high above the earth, the wheels turn not round, even they, from being beside them. 17 In their standing they stand, and in their exaltation they are exalted with them: for the living spirit [is] in them. 18 And go forth doth the honour of Jehovah from off the threshold of the house, and standeth over the cherubs, 19 and the cherubs lift up their wings, and are lifted up from the earth before mine eyes; in their going forth, the wheels also [are] over-against them, and he standeth at the opening of the east gate of the house of Jehovah, and the honour of the God of Israel [is] over them from above. 20 It [is] the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river Chebar, and I know that they are cherubs. 21 Four faces [are] to each, and four wings to each, and the likeness of the hands of man [is] under their wings. 22 As to the likeness of their faces, they [are] the faces that I saw by the river Chebar, their appearances and themselves; each straight forward they go. (YLT)

11:1 And lift me up doth a spirit, and it bringeth me in unto the east gate of the house of Jehovah, that is facing the east, and lo, at the opening of the gate twenty and five men, and I see in their midst Jaazaniah son of Azzur, and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, heads of the people. 2 And He saith unto me, ‘Son of man, these [are] the men who are devising iniquity, and who are giving evil counsel in this city; 3 who are saying, It [is] not near — to build houses, it [is] the pot, and we the flesh. 4 Therefore prophesy concerning them, prophesy, son of man.’ 5 And fall upon me doth the Spirit of Jehovah, and He saith unto me, ‘Say: Thus said Jehovah: Rightly ye have said, O house of Israel, And the steps of your spirit I have known. 6 Ye multiplied your wounded in this city, And filled its out-places with the wounded. 7 Therefore, thus said the Lord Jehovah: Your wounded whom ye placed in its midst, They [are] the flesh, and it [is] the pot, And you he hath brought out from its midst. 8 A sword ye have feared, And a sword I bring in against you, An affirmation of the Lord Jehovah. 9 And I have brought you out of its midst, And given you into the hand of strangers, And I have done among you judgments. 10 By the sword ye do fall, On the border of Israel I do judge you, And ye have known that I [am] Jehovah. 11 It is not to you for a pot, Nor are ye in its midst for flesh, At the border of Israel I do judge you. 12 And ye have known that I [am] Jehovah, For in My statutes ye have not walked, And My Judgments ye have not done, And according to the judgments of the nations Who are round about you — ye have done!’ 13 And it cometh to pass, at my prophesying, that Pelatiah son of Benaiah is dying, and I fall on my face, and cry — a loud voice — and say, ‘Ah, Lord Jehovah, an end Thou art making of the remnant of Israel.’ 14 And there is a word of Jehovah unto me, saying, 15 ‘Son of man, thy brethren, thy brethren, men of thy kindred, and all the house of Israel — all of it, [are] they to whom inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, Keep far off from Jehovah; 16 it [is] ours, the land hath been given for an inheritance; therefore say: Thus said the Lord Jehovah: Because I put them afar off among nations, And because I scattered them through lands, I also am to them for a little sanctuary, In lands whither they have gone in. 17 Therefore say: Thus said the Lord Jehovah: And I have assembled you from the peoples, And I have gathered you from the lands, Into which ye have been scattered, And I have given to you the ground of Israel. 18 And they have gone in thither. And turned aside all its detestable things, And all its abominations — out of it. 19 And I have given to them one heart, And a new spirit I do give in your midst, And I have turned the heart of stone out of their flesh, And I have given to them a heart of flesh. 20 So that in My statutes they walk, And My judgments they keep, and have done them, And they have been to me for a people, And I am to them for God. 21 As to those whose heart is going unto the heart Of their detestable and their abominable things, Their way on their head I have put, An affirmation of the Lord Jehovah.’ 22 And the cherubs lift up their wings, and the wheels [are] over-against them, and the honour of the God of Israel [is] over them above. 23 And the honour of Jehovah goeth up from off the midst of the city, and standeth on the mountain, that [is] on the east of the city. 24 And a spirit hath lifted me up, and bringeth me in to Chaldea, unto the Removed, in a vision, by the Spirit of God, and go up from off me doth the vision that I have seen; 25 and I speak unto the Removed all the matters of Jehovah that He hath shewed me. (YLT)


So that is it for our Bible Bit. God leaves his building.


We realize that you may not be as familiar as you’d like regarding God having a special room. And so we will do our best to review the Biblical narrative and history of that special room and its building.

To grasp the significance of God leaving the building, you must understand the fundamental Biblical importance of God being in the building and in His special room in the first place. This reality of the specific-physical-space-occupying Hebrew and Christian God is most certainly NOT a small Bible bit. We suspect that many Christians fail to realize this, as we have it in our minds that God is vaguely all ’round us, Jesus is in our hearts, and that the church building is simply that: just a building.

And so, while not rejecting any of this, we’d like to bolster our Bible Bit with a too-brief (and incomplete) review of Old Testament statements regarding God’s physically manifested presence inside the Tent of Meeting, and then in the Most Holy Place / Holy of Holies of the tabernacle, and then Solomon’s temple, plus Ezekiel’s vision of the recently destroyed Solomon’s temple, Zerubabbel’s (and Ezra & Nehemiah’s) temple, Herod’s temple, and finally, Ezekiel’s eschatological temple.


Within the first year after the escape from Egypt, Moses receives God’s instructions for, and Israel’s craftsmen build, a movable “tabernacle” built from wooden supports and animal skin fabric. This tabernacle is a multi-part tent with a courtyard surrounded by fabric walls, and a two-room tent building. The furthest inner room of the tent is God’s “most holy place.” The first room is “the holy place.” We often gives these proper name standing by capitalizing them as Most Holy Place, Holy Place, and Holy of Holies. As mentioned earlier, there is not a clean, direct translation from the variety of Hebrew words and phrases into these proper names.

A traditional dating of dedication and first use of the tabernacle is 1445 BC, very early in the second year of the Exodus.

It seems that this fully developed tabernacle may have been briefly preceded by a “tent of meeting.” Or maybe not. But for the sake of this Bible Bits post, we’ll take the Tent of Meeting as its own distinct structure.

Unlike the tabernacle, which was placed in the center of the two million person “camp” of the twelve Jewish tribes, this “tent of meeting” was a simple tent placed outside of camp where Moses met God face-to-face in person.

See Young’s Literal Translation regarding this outside-of-the-camp “tent of meeting.” Note Young’s capitalization choices:

Exodus 33:1, 7-11 (YLT) 1 And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses, Go, ascend from this [place], thou and the people, whom thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I have sworn to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, To thy seed I give it,’ … 7 And Moses taketh the tent, and hath stretched it out at the outside of the camp, afar off from the camp, and hath called it,Tent of Meeting;’ and it hath come to pass, every one seeking Jehovah goeth out unto the tent of meeting, which [is] at the outside of the camp. 8 And it hath come to pass, at the going out of Moses unto the tent, all the people rise, and have stood, each at the opening of his tent, and have looked expectingly after Moses, until his going into the tent. 9 And it hath come to pass, at the going in of Moses to the tent, the pillar of the cloud cometh down, and hath stood at the opening of the tent, and He hath spoken with Moses; 10 and all the people have seen the pillar of the cloud standing at the opening of the tent, and all the people have risen and bowed themselves, each at the opening of his tent. 11 And Jehovah hath spoken unto Moses face unto face, as a man speaketh unto his friend; and he hath turned back unto the camp, and his minister Joshua, son of Nun, a youth, departeth not out of the tent. (YLT)

Yet here’s how the King James Version words it:

Exodus 33:1, 7-11, (KJV): And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, [and] go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: … 7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, [that] every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which [was] without the camp. 8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, [that] all the people rose up, and stood every man [at] his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. 9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood [at] the door of the tabernacle, and [the LORD] talked with Moses. 10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand [at] the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man [in] his tent door. 11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

A reasonable (if not fully correct) view of the text is that a simple early tent was replaced by a more fully planned (by God) “tabernacle.” Within this view, the simply tent would have been used by Moses and Aaron prior to the development of institutional priesthood and Levitical jobs. However this transpired, events happened quickly as the stand-up of both religious institutions and physical structure were complete by the start of year two of the Exodus.

The tabernacle served a fully developed priesthood, and both priesthood and tabernacle were defined with form and function mandated in detail by the Lord God. Moses’ brother Aaron was the first high priest, and the priesthood was supported by three classes, separated by function, of tabernacle administrative staffs. The three physical spaces of the tabernacle — uncovered courtyard, covered Holy Place, covered Most Holy Place — were distinguished by three increasing levels of holiness. God’s people and no others were allowed in the courtyard. Priests only were allowed in the first of the two rooms inside the tent proper. God himself was the only party allowed in the inner, most holy room, except for the one day a year when the single high priest was allowed inside for the ceremony of national atonement.

Exodus 40:1-38, (KJV): And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation. 3 And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony, and cover the ark with the vail. 4 And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it; and thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof. 5 And thou shalt set the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the testimony, and put the hanging of the door to the tabernacle. 6 And thou shalt set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation. 7 And thou shalt set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and shalt put water therein. 8 And thou shalt set up the court round about, and hang up the hanging at the court gate. 9 And thou shalt take the anointing oil…. 12 And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle …. 17 And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first [day] of the month, [that] the tabernacle was reared up. 18 And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars. 19 And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as the LORD commanded Moses. 20 And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark: 21 And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the vail of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the LORD commanded Moses. 22 And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the vail. 23 And he set the bread in order upon it before the LORD; as the LORD had commanded Moses. 24 And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward. 25 And he lighted the lamps before the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses. 26 And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the vail: 27 And he burnt sweet incense thereon; as the LORD commanded Moses. 28 And he set up the hanging [at] the door of the tabernacle. 29 And he put the altar of burnt offering [by] the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as the LORD commanded Moses. 30 And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash [withal]. 31 And Moses and Aaron …. So Moses finished the work. 34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 36 And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: 37 But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the LORD [was] upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

The tabernacle served the nation of Israel throughout the entire remaining 39 years of wilderness residence in Kadesh (about 38 years) with one trip south to the Red Sea and finally movement north around Moab and Edom in the final year.

The tabernacle with the Ark of the Covenant crossed into Canaan with Joshua with the formal end of the Exodus and beginning of the Israel state. This took place in 1407, if one accepts that chronology.

It was placed for much of the federated twelve-tribe nation period in centralized Shiloh, but also spent time at Gilgal, Nob, Bethel, Mizpah, Ramah, and at the homes of Abinadab at Kiriath-jearim and Obed-edom.

Four hundred years later, King David believes the tabernacle should be in Jerusalem, God’s city, and believes God deserves a more permanent, fixed, structurally proper temple. God forbids David to build the tabernacle replacement himself, but clears the way for David to prepare materials for and his son Solomon to erect a magnificent temple. This first and most grand “temple” was placed on and around a high spot in Jerusalem, just up the hill from David’s home. The Holy of Holies will rest over a rocky outcrop and cave where Abraham offered son Isaac in sacrifice over a thousand years earlier, and the Holy Place and courtyard will stand on and around what had been a threshing floor (ponder the meaning) owned by Araunah. This is the first temple, Solomon’s temple.

1 Kings 6:1-26, (KJV): And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which [is] the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD. 2 And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof [was] threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty [cubits], and the height thereof thirty cubits. 3 And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits [was] the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; [and] ten cubits [was] the breadth thereof before the house. 4 And for the house he made windows of narrow lights. 5 And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, [against] the walls of the house round about, [both] of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about: 6 The nethermost chamber [was] five cubits broad, and the middle [was] six cubits broad, and the third [was] seven cubits broad: for without [in the wall] of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that [the beams] should not be fastened in the walls of the house. 7 And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe [nor] any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. 8 The door for the middle chamber [was] in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle [chamber], and out of the middle into the third. 9 So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar. 10 And [then] he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house [with] timber of cedar. 11 And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, 12 [Concerning] this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: 13 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel. 14 So Solomon built the house, and finished it. 15 And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the cieling: [and] he covered [them] on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. 16 And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built [them] for it within, [even] for the oracle, [even] for the most holy [place]. 17 And the house, that [is], the temple before it, was forty cubits [long]. 18 And the cedar of the house within [was] carved with knops and open flowers: all [was] cedar; there was no stone seen. 19 And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD. 20 And the oracle in the forepart [was] twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and [so] covered the altar [which was of] cedar. 21 So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold. 22 And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that [was] by the oracle he overlaid with gold. 23 And within the oracle he made two cherubims [of] olive tree, [each] ten cubits high. 24 And five cubits [was] the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other [were] ten cubits. 25 And the other cherub [was] ten cubits: both the cherubims [were] of one measure and one size. 26 The height of the one cherub [was] ten cubits, and so [was it] of the other cherub.

1 Kings 8:1-12 (YLT) Then doth Solomon assemble the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, princes of the fathers of the sons of Israel, unto king Solomon, to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of Jehovah from the city of David — it [is] Zion; 2 and all the men of Israel are assembled unto king Solomon, in the month of Ethanim, in the festival — [is] the seventh month. 3 And all the elders of Israel come in, and the priests lift up the ark, 4 and bring up the ark of Jehovah, and the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that [are] in the tent, yea, the priests and the Levites bring them up. 5 And king Solomon and all the company of Israel who are met unto him [are] with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that are not counted nor numbered for multitude. 6 And the priests bring in the ark of the covenant of Jehovah unto its place, unto the oracle of the house, unto the holy of holies, unto the place of the wings of the cherubs; 7 for the cherubs are spreading forth two wings unto the place of the ark, and the cherubs cover over the ark, and over its staves from above; 8 and they lengthen the staves, and the heads of the staves are seen from the holy [place] on the front of the oracle, and are not seen without, and they are there unto this day. 9 There is nothing in the ark, only the two tables of stone which Moses put there in Horeb, when Jehovah covenanted with the sons of Israel in their going out of the land of Egypt. 10 And it cometh to pass, in the going out of the priests from the holy [place], that the cloud hath filled the house of Jehovah, 11 and the priests have not been able to stand to minister because of the cloud, for the honour of Jehovah hath filled the house of Jehovah. 12 Then said Solomon, ‘Jehovah hath said to dwell in thick darkness; 13 I have surely built a house of habitation for Thee; a fixed place for Thine abiding to the ages.’

It is this temple which the Lord vacates in 568. This temple of Solomon, the first and best earthly temple, was God-occupied and dedicated in 966.

And, by the way, the temple itself and all of Jerusalem are destroyed and burned by the Babylonians. Presumably, the Ark of the Covenant, Mercy Seat, cherubim, altar of incense, and golden lampstand were looted or destroyed.

2 Kings 25:8-11, WEB: Now in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 He burned Yahweh’s house, the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, even every great house, he burned with fire. 10 All the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive the residue of the people who were left in the city, and those who fell away, who fell to the king of Babylon, and the residue of the multitude.

So now we return to the passages displayed at the top of our post, those of Ezekiel in his chapters 9, 10, and 11.

Ezekiel 9:3, WEB: The glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub, whereupon it was, to the threshold of the house; and he called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn by his side.

Ezekiel 10:4, WEB: Yahweh’s glory mounted up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of Yahweh’s glory.

Ezekiel 10:18-19, WEB Yahweh’s glory went out from over the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim. 19 The cherubim lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight when they went out, with the wheels beside them. Then they stood at the door of the east gate of Yahweh’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.

Ezekiel actually provides to us two temple visions. Both are enigmatic and both are subject to head-scratching variations in interpretation.

Both come to Ezekiel in or near 572 BC. The first (from which we pulled above) regards events he witnessed personally in real life 15 years earlier, but also in a vision from the Lord. He sees the 586 temple destruction again, but this time he receives a fantastical guided tour of supernatural events inside the temple courtyard, Holy Place, and Holy of Holies. This is where he sees God and the two cherubim leave the inner sanctuary, settle on the threshold, make their way to the east gate, and then rise out of the city of Jerusalem.

This is where God leaves the building.

Ezekiel has a second vision of a temple. This is described in chapters 40 through 48.

This latter vision seems to be both of a real, physical temple to be erected by men for God on some future day, and also an eschatalogical temple set in eternal time and space. This visionary temple also seems to describe characteristics of the Solomon temple, and provides information (if this view is correct) regarding that temple’s design and features not provided in the already lengthy accounts of 1 Kings 5 thru 8, 1 Chronicles 17, 21, 22, 28, 29 and 2 Chronicles 2 thru 7.

This is where God RETURNS to the building. But not to his special room:

Ezekiel 43:1-12, WEB: And he brought me to the gate that looked towards the east. 2 And behold the glory of the God of Israel came in by the way of the east: and his voice was like the noise of many waters, and the earth shone with his majesty. 3 And I saw the vision according to the appearance which I had seen when he came to destroy the city: and the appearance was according to the vision which I had seen by the river Chobar: and I fell upon my face.

4 And the majesty of the Lord went into the temple by the way of the gate that looked to the east.

5 And the spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court: and behold the house was filled with the glory of the Lord. 6 And I heard one speaking to me out of the house, and the man that stood by me, 7 Said to me: Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever: and the house of Israel shall no more profane my holy name, they and their kings by their fornications, and by the carcasses of their kings, and by the high places. 8 They who have set their threshold by my threshold, and their posts by my posts: and there was but a wall between me and them: and they profaned my holy name by the abominations which they committed: for which reason I consumed them in my wrath.

9 Now therefore let them put away their fornications, and the carcasses of their kings far from me: and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever. 10 But thou, son of man, shew to the house of Israel the temple, and let them be ashamed of their iniquities, and let them measure the building: 11 And be ashamed of all that they have done. Shew them the form of the house, and of the fashion thereof, the goings out and the comings in, and the whole plan thereof, and all its ordinances, and all its order, and all its laws, and thou shalt write it in their sight: that they may keep the whole form thereof, and its ordinances, and do them.

12 This is the law of the house upon the top of the mountain: All its border round about is most holy: this then is the law of the house.

Note that for this eschatalogical temple, “all its border round about is most holy.” The entire temple, and indeed, the entire city Ariel —Jerusalem — is most holy. A wall or curtain will no longer separate the Godly man from God.

See this idea again in the prophet Zechariah:

Zechariah 2:1-5, WEB: I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand. 2 Then I asked, “Where are you going?” He said to me, “To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length.” 3 Behold, the angel who talked with me went out, and another angel went out to meet him, 4 and said to him, “Run, speak to this young man, saying, ‘Jerusalem will be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of men and livestock in it. 5 For I,’ says Yahweh, ‘will be to her a wall of fire around it, and I will be the glory in the middle of her.

Zechariah 1:13-16, WEB: Yahweh answered the angel who talked with me with kind and comforting words. 14 So the angel who talked with me said to me, “Proclaim, saying, ‘Yahweh of Armies says: “I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. 15 I am very angry with the nations that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, but they added to the calamity.” 16 Therefore Yahweh says: “I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy. My house shall be built in it,” says Yahweh of Armies, “and a line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.”’

But before we get to the coming new temple and/or new Jerusalem, let’s return to another account of God vacating the Holy of Holies.

The pseudipigraphal Apocalypse of Baruch, thought to have been written late in the first century AD after the destruction of Herod’s temple (which we will get to later) in the year 70 but pretending (pseudo) to have been written (graph) by Baruch first hand (epi) at the 586 BC time of destruction claims that contents of the God-vacated Holy of Holies were grabbed and secured by angels:

Apocalypse of Baruch, 6:1 thru 8:3:
6:1 And it came to pass on the morrow that, lo! the army of the Chaldees surrounded the city, and at the time of the evening, I, Baruch, left the people, and I went forth and stood by the oak. 2 And I was grieving over Zion, and lamenting over the captivity which had come upon the people. 3 And lo! suddenly a strong spirit raised me, and bore me aloft over the wall of Jerusalem. 4 And I beheld, and lo! four angels standing at the four corners of the city, each of them holding a torch of fire in his hands. 5 And another angel began to descend from heaven. and said unto them: ‘Hold your lamps, and do not light them till I tell you. 6 For I am first sent to speak a word to the earth, and to place in it what the Lord the Most High has commanded me.’ 7 And I saw him descend into the Holy of Holies, and take from there the veil, and holy ark, and the mercy-seat, and the two tables, and the holy raiment of the priests, and the altar of incense, and the forty-eight precious stones, wherewith the priest was adorned and all the holy vessels of the tabernacle. 8 And he spoke to the earth with a loud voice:
‘Earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the mighty God,
And receive what I commit to you,
And guard them until the last times,
So that, when you are ordered, you may restore them,
So that strangers may not get possession of them.
9 For the time comes when Jerusalem also will be delivered for a time,
Until it is said, that it is again restored for ever.’
10 And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up.
7:1 And after these things I heard that angel saying unto those angels who held the lamps: ‘Destroy, therefore, and overthrow its wall to its foundations, lest the enemy should boast and say:
” We have overthrown the wall of Zion,
And we have burnt the place of the mighty God.”‘
2 And they have seized the place where I had been standing before.
8:1 Now the angels did as he had commanded them, and when they had broken up the corners of the walls, a voice was heard from the interior of the temple, after the wall had fall saying:
2 ‘Enter, you enemies,
And come, you adversaries;
For he who kept the house has forsaken (it).’
3 And I, Baruch, departed. 4 And it came to pass after these things that the army of the Chaldees entered and seized the house, and all that was around it. And they led the people away captive and slew some of them, and bound Zedekiah the king, and sent him to the king of Babylon.
(Apoc. of Baruch, also known as 2 Baruch. From The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament in English, Translation from the Syriac by R. H. Charles.)

Curiously, the pseudpigraphic account here omits the two cherubim from the list of things inside the Holy of Holies which needed to be removed for safekeeping. You will recall that the cherubim left the room with God, as Ezekiel describes. Our “phony” Baruch claims to have arrived on the scene a few minutes after God retreated from the seiging Nebuchadnezzer, and is smart enough to have read the account of Ezekiel and remembers to not include the two cherubim which had already left the temple.

The books of Nehemiah and Ezra describe the eventual return to Judea and crumbled Jerusalem thanks to the strategic practice by Persian king Cyrus to allow peoples formerly displaced by the Babylonians to return to their homelands and practice self-government. It took quite a bit of diplomatic back-and-forth for Judean governor Zerubbabel to eventually accomplish it, but he and the returning Jews managed to overcome local hostility and build a new temple.

Ezra 1:1-2, WEB: Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that Yahweh’s word by Jeremiah’s mouth might be accomplished, Yahweh stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2 “Cyrus king of Persia says, ‘Yahweh, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he has commanded me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”

Zechariah 4:9, WEB: “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house. His hands shall also finish it; and you will know that Yahweh of Armies has sent me to you.

This 515 temple finished by Zerubabbel was not as grand as Solomon’s masterpiece, and most notably, as a matter of historic fact and newly emerging theology, the lost items belonging to the Most Holy Place were not replaced. God’s throne room was no longer in a special room in a special building in a special city. Jews and all the rest of humanity now began the wait for God’s residence in an earthly human Messiah, which came half a millennia later. And as laid out by Ezekiel in chapters 40 to the end, and in Revelation’s final chapters, we await God’s dwelling residence in the throne room of the new Jerusalem, where the city itself is God’s Most Holy Place.

from Ezra 3:8-12, (WEB): 8 Now in the second year of their coming to God’s house at Jerusalem, in the second month, Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the rest of their brothers the priests and the Levites, and all those who had come out of the captivity to Jerusalem, began the work and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to have the oversight of the work of Yahweh’s house…. 10 When the builders laid the foundation of Yahweh’s temple, they set the priests in their clothing with trumpets, with the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise Yahweh, according to the directions of David king of Israel…. All the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised Yahweh, because the foundation of Yahweh’s house had been laid.

12 But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice….

Zerubbabel and the Jewish leaders were pushed to get things done by prophets Haggai and Zechariah:

Ezra 6:14-22, WEB: The elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. They built and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the decree of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. 15 This house was finished on the third day of the month Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of Darius the king.

16 The children of Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy. 17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. 18 They set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses, for the service of God, which is at Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses.

19 The children of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. 20 Because the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together, all of them were pure. They killed the Passover for all the children of the captivity, for their brothers the priests, and for themselves. 21 The children of Israel who had returned out of the captivity, and all who had separated themselves to them from the filthiness of the nations of the land, to seek Yahweh, the God of Israel, ate, 22 and kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy; because Yahweh had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, to strengthen their hands in the work of God, the God of Israel’s house.

But of great note is this: God’s presence does not fill the sanctuary of this Second Temple. Zerubbabel’s temple does not receive the Shekinah.

This is the last mention of the temple in the Old Testament, although events involving the city and temple services are described by Ezra and Nehemiah until the later part of the 400s.

Josephus’ Jewish Wars, Antiquities of the Jews, Against Apion I and the Apocryphal books First Esdras, Ecclesiasticus, First Maccabees, supply accounts of temple activities in the period where the Bible goes quiet.

Ezekiel’s eschatological temple will be filled by God’s smoke and cloud. Here’s the prophet’s account:

Ezekiel 43:1-5, WEB: Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looks toward the east. 2 Behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth was illuminated with his glory. 3 It was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city; and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell on my face. 4 Yahweh’s glory came into the house by the way of the gate which faces toward the east. 5 The Spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold, Yahweh’s glory filled the house.

Finished in 515, the Second Temple of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel stands until the mid-first century BC when brothers Aristobulus II and Hycanus II compete for physical control of the temple grounds. Roman Governor Pompey steps in on behalf of Hyrcanus and lays seige to the mount, where the followers of Aristobulus have seized the temple. Pompey eventually destroys the walls, kills 12,000 defenders, and desecrates the sanctuary by entering it to have a look around. This takes place in 63 BC. Although Pompey returns the temple to religious use by the Jews, Roman general Crassus later enters the sanctuary and removes the valuable Jewish items which Pompey ingnored. When Herod is appointed to power by the Romans, hostile Jewish opposition leads to further physical violence and action on the temple mount, but Herod is disinclined to allow Roman soldiers to desecrate or further damage the sacred Jewish structure.

By 20 BC, Herod is in a position to begin a large scale rebuilding of what is left of the Zerubabbel temple and grounds. This was a large building program which was complete by 10 BC.

When Jesus walked in the temple area, it was in Herod’s rebuilt and greatly enlarged complex.

The Ark of the Covenant, Mercy Seat of Propitiation, and cherubim had been gone for over 500 years. While the Holy of Holies room still stood, Jesus the Christ was now present to take its place.

In 70 AD, some 40 years after Jesus’ death on the Roman cross, the Romans destroyed Herod’s Jewish temple. And that’s where we are today.


To conclude, we provide here a large sampling of Bible passages which mention and couple together (mostly) the physical manifestation of the Lord along with the Holy of Holies, or tent of meeting, or tabernacle or temple.

First, prior to any building structure, God appears in person in the garden:

Genesis 3:8, (KJV): And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Not yet a tent or tabernacle, but a pillar of fire:

Exodus 13:17-22, (KJV): And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not [through] the way of the land of the Philistines, although that [was] near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: 18 But God led the people about, [through] the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. 19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. 20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. 21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, [from] before the people.

Exodus 14:1-4, 10, 13-16, 19-20, 24-27, (KJV): And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They [are] entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I [am] the LORD. And they did so. … 10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. … 13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. 15 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: 16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry [ground] through the midst of the sea. … 19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: 20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness [to them], but it gave light by night [to these]: so that the one came not near the other all the night. … 24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians. 26 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. 27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

God tells Moses to build a “tabernacle” and provides instructions:

Exodus 25:1-40, (KJV): And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. 3 And this [is] the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, 4 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ [hair], 5 And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood, 6 Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, 7 Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. 8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I shew thee, [after] the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make [it]. 10 And they shall make an ark [of] shittim wood: two cubits and a half [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. 11 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. 12 And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put [them] in the four corners thereof; and two rings [shall be] in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. 13 And thou shalt make staves [of] shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. 14 And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. 15 The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. 16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. 17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat [of] pure gold: two cubits and a half [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. 18 And thou shalt make two cherubims [of] gold, [of] beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: [even] of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. 20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth [their] wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces [shall look] one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. 21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. 22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which [are] upon the ark of the testimony, of all [things] which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel. 23 Thou shalt also make a table [of] shittim wood: two cubits [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. 24 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about. 25 And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about. 26 And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that [are] on the four feet thereof. 27 Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table. 28 And thou shalt make the staves [of] shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them. 29 And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: [of] pure gold shalt thou make them. 30 And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway. 31 And thou shalt make a candlestick [of] pure gold: [of] beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. 32 And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side: 33 Three bowls made like unto almonds, [with] a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, [with] a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick. 34 And in the candlestick [shall be] four bowls made like unto almonds, [with] their knops and their flowers. 35 And [there shall be] a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick. 36 Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it [shall be] one beaten work [of] pure gold. 37 And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it. 38 And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, [shall be of] pure gold. 39 [Of] a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels. 40 And look that thou make [them] after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.

This tabernacle’s spaces have increasing levels of holiness. God will reside in the most holy of these:

[Exodus 26:33-34, (KJV): And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy [place] and the most holy. 34 And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy [place].

More tabernacle instructions:

[Exodus 30:1-38, (KJV): And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: [of] shittim wood shalt thou make it. 2 A cubit [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits [shall be] the height thereof: the horns thereof [shall be] of the same. 3 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about. 4 And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make [it]; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal. 5 And thou shalt make the staves [of] shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. 6 And thou shalt put it before the vail that [is] by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that [is] over the testimony, where I will meet with thee. 7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. 8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. 9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon. 10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it [is] most holy unto the LORD. 11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when [thou] numberest them. 13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel [is] twenty gerahs:) an half shekel [shall be] the offering of the LORD. 14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. 15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when [they] give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. 16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. 17 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 18 Thou shalt also make a laver [of] brass, and his foot [also of] brass, to wash [withal]: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. 19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: 20 When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD: 21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, [even] to him and to his seed throughout their generations. 22 Moreover the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred [shekels], and of sweet cinnamon half so much, [even] two hundred and fifty [shekels], and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty [shekels], 24 And of cassia five hundred [shekels], after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: 25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. 26 And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, 27 And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, 28 And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. 29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. 30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that [they] may minister unto me in the priest’s office. 31 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. 32 Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make [any other] like it, after the composition of it: it [is] holy, [and] it shall be holy unto you. 33 Whosoever compoundeth [any] like it, or whosoever putteth [any] of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people. 34 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; [these] sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like [weight]: 35 And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure [and] holy: 36 And thou shalt beat [some] of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy. 37 And [as for] the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the LORD. 38 Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.

God moves in to the Holy of Holies:

[Exodus 33:1, 7-11, (KJV): And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, [and] go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: … 7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, [that] every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which [was] without the camp. 8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, [that] all the people rose up, and stood every man [at] his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. 9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood [at] the door of the tabernacle, and [the LORD] talked with Moses. 10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand [at] the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man [in] his tent door. 11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

God’s presence is manifest inside the innermost room of the “tabernacle of the tent of the congregation:”

[Exodus 40:1-38, (KJV): And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation. 3 And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony, and cover the ark with the vail. 4 And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it; and thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof. 5 And thou shalt set the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the testimony, and put the hanging of the door to the tabernacle. 6 And thou shalt set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation. 7 And thou shalt set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and shalt put water therein. 8 And thou shalt set up the court round about, and hang up the hanging at the court gate. 9 And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that [is] therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy. 10 And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy. 11 And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot, and sanctify it. 12 And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. 13 And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. 14 And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats: 15 And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations. 16 Thus did Moses: according to all that the LORD commanded him, so did he. 17 And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the first [day] of the month, [that] the tabernacle was reared up. 18 And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars. 19 And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as the LORD commanded Moses. 20 And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark: 21 And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the vail of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as the LORD commanded Moses. 22 And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the vail. 23 And he set the bread in order upon it before the LORD; as the LORD had commanded Moses. 24 And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward. 25 And he lighted the lamps before the LORD; as the LORD commanded Moses. 26 And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the vail: 27 And he burnt sweet incense thereon; as the LORD commanded Moses. 28 And he set up the hanging [at] the door of the tabernacle. 29 And he put the altar of burnt offering [by] the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as the LORD commanded Moses. 30 And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash [withal]. 31 And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: 32 When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the LORD commanded Moses. 33 And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work. 34 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 36 And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: 37 But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the LORD [was] upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

[Numbers 12:4-9, (KJV): And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. 5 And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood [in] the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. 6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, [I] the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, [and] will speak unto him in a dream. 7 My servant Moses [is] not so, who [is] faithful in all mine house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? 9 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed.

[Deuteronomy 31:1-2, 14-16, 23, (KJV): 1 And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel. 2 And he said unto them, I [am] an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the LORD hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. … 14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. 15 And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle. 16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go [to be] among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. … 23 And he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.

David is premature (and uses the wrong method) in moving the ark (which had been captured):

[2 Samuel 6:2-17, (KJV): And David arose, and went with all the people that [were] with him from Baale of Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the LORD of hosts that dwelleth [between] the cherubims. 3 And they set the ark of God upon a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab that [was] in Gibeah: and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drave the new cart. 4 And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab which [was] at Gibeah, accompanying the ark of God: and Ahio went before the ark. 5 And David and all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of [instruments made of] fir wood, even on harps, and on psalteries, and on timbrels, and on cornets, and on cymbals. 6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth [his hand] to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook [it]. 7 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for [his] error; and there he died by the ark of God. 8 And David was displeased, because the LORD had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day. 9 And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me? 10 So David would not remove the ark of the LORD unto him into the city of David: but David carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite. 11 And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household. 12 And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that [pertaineth] unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness. 13 And it was [so], that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. 14 And David danced before the LORD with all [his] might; and David [was] girded with a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 16 And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. 17 And they brought in the ark of the LORD, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

Solomon completes David’s desired temple:

[1 Kings 6:1-26, (KJV): And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which [is] the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD. 2 And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof [was] threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty [cubits], and the height thereof thirty cubits. 3 And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits [was] the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; [and] ten cubits [was] the breadth thereof before the house. 4 And for the house he made windows of narrow lights. 5 And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, [against] the walls of the house round about, [both] of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about: 6 The nethermost chamber [was] five cubits broad, and the middle [was] six cubits broad, and the third [was] seven cubits broad: for without [in the wall] of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that [the beams] should not be fastened in the walls of the house. 7 And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe [nor] any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. 8 The door for the middle chamber [was] in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle [chamber], and out of the middle into the third. 9 So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar. 10 And [then] he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house [with] timber of cedar. 11 And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, 12 [Concerning] this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: 13 And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel. 14 So Solomon built the house, and finished it. 15 And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling: [and] he covered [them] on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. 16 And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built [them] for it within, [even] for the oracle, [even] for the most holy [place]. 17 And the house, that [is], the temple before it, was forty cubits [long]. 18 And the cedar of the house within [was] carved with knops and open flowers: all [was] cedar; there was no stone seen. 19 And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD. 20 And the oracle in the forepart [was] twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and [so] covered the altar [which was of] cedar. 21 So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold. 22 And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that [was] by the oracle he overlaid with gold. 23 And within the oracle he made two cherubims [of] olive tree, [each] ten cubits high. 24 And five cubits [was] the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other [were] ten cubits. 25 And the other cherub [was] ten cubits: both the cherubims [were] of one measure and one size. 26 The height of the one cherub [was] ten cubits, and so [was it] of the other cherub.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = ==

Okay. Some more scripture: You Say Tabernacle; I Say Tent of Meeting.

It is not altogether clear whether there was a distinct “tent of meeting” and then a separate “tabernacle.” Or whether they are one and the same. The Hebrew words and phrases are many, and do not provide clarity.

Using Exodus 33:7, here’s how various English translators handle the Hebrew description of whatever this/these one/two thing/things is/are. 🙂

Tent of Meeting

American Standard Version (1901)
Now Moses used to take the tent and to pitch it without the camp, afar off from the camp; and he called it, The tent of meeting. And it came to pass, that every one that sought Jehovah went out unto the tent of meeting, which was without the camp.

Amplified Bible
Now Moses used to take his own tent and pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting [of God with His own people]. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the [temporary] tent of meeting which was outside the camp.

Christian Standard Bible
Now Moses took a tent and pitched it outside the camp, at a distance from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. Anyone who wanted to consult the Lord would go to the tent of meeting that was outside the camp.

Complete Jewish Bible
Moshe would take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp. He called it the tent of meeting. Everyone who wanted to consult Adonai would go out to the tent of meeting, outside the camp.

Darby Translation (public domain)
And Moses took the tent, and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the Tent of meeting. And it came to pass [that] every one who sought Jehovah went out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp.

English Standard Version
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Now Moses took a tent and set it up outside the camp, far away from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. Anyone who wanted to consult the Lord would go to the tent of meeting that was outside the camp.

Names of God Bible
Now, Moses used to take a tent and set it up far outside the camp. He called it the tent of meeting. Anyone who was seeking Yahweh’s will used to go outside the camp to the tent of meeting.

New American Bible, Revised Edition
Moses used to pitch a tent outside the camp at some distance. It was called the tent of meeting. Anyone who wished to consult the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.

New American Standard Bible (2020)
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp.

New English Translation
Moses took the tent and pitched it outside the camp, at a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. Anyone seeking the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting that was outside the camp.

New International Version
Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp.

New Living Translation
It was Moses’ practice to take the Tent of Meeting and set it up some distance from the camp. Everyone who wanted to make a request of the Lord would go to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp.

New Revised Standard Version
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.

Revised Standard Version
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp; and he called it the tent of meeting. And every one who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.

World English Bible
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp, and he called it “The Tent of Meeting.” Everyone who sought Yahweh went out to the Tent of Meeting, which was outside the camp.

Berean Study Bible
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it at a distance outside the camp. He called it the Tent of Meeting, and anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the Tent
of Meeting outside the camp.

New Jerusalem Bible
Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside the camp, far away from the camp. He called it the Tent of Meeting. Anyone who wanted to consult Yahweh would go out to the Tent of Meeting, outside the camp.

JPS Tanakh 1917 (public domain)
Now Moses used to take the tent and to pitch it without the camp, afar off from the camp; and he called it The tent of meeting. And it came to pass, that every one that sought the LORD went out unto the tent of meeting, which was without the camp.

JPS Tanakh 1999
Now Moses would take the Tent and pitch it outside the camp, at some distance from the camp. It was called the Tent of Meeting, and whoever sought the LORD would go out to the Tent of Meeting that was outside the camp.

Literal Standard Version
And Moses takes the tent, and has stretched it out at the outside of the camp, far off from the camp, and has called it, “Tent of Meeting”; and it has come to pass, everyone seeking YHWH goes out to the Tent of Meeting, which [is] at the outside of the camp.

Young’s Literal Translation (public domain)
And Moses taketh the tent, and hath stretched it out at the outside of the camp, afar off from the camp, and hath called it, `Tent of Meeting;’ and it hath come to pass, every one seeking Jehovah goeth out unto the tent of meeting, which [is] at the outside of the camp.

“Meeting Tent”

Common English Bible
Moses took the tent and pitched it outside the camp, far away from the camp. He called it the meeting tent. Everyone who wanted advice from the Lord would go out to the meeting tent outside the camp.

Contemporary English Version
Moses used to set up a tent far from camp. He called it the “meeting tent,” and whoever needed some message from the Lord would go there.

New Catholic Bible
Moses took the tent and pitched it quite a distance outside of the camp, calling it the meeting tent. Anyone who sought the Lord would go to the meeting tent that was outside the camp.

New Century Version
Moses used to take a tent and set it up a long way outside the camp; he called it the “Meeting Tent.” Anyone who wanted to ask the Lord about something would go to the Meeting Tent outside the camp.

“Tabernacle”

Geneva Bible of 1587
Then Moses tooke his tabernacle, and pitched it without the host farre off from the hoste, & called it Ohel-moed; whe any did seeke to the Lord, he went out vnto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, which was without the hoste.

Geneva Bible (1599 with modernized spellings)
Then Moses took his tabernacle, and pitched it without the host far off from the host, and called it Ohel-moed. And when any did seek to the Lord, he went out unto the Tabernacle of the Congregation, which was without the host.

Bishops’ Bible of 1568
And Moyses toke the tabernacle, and pitched it without the hoast a farre of from the hoast, and called it the tabernacle of the congregation: And so it came to passe that euery one whiche woulde pray vnto the Lorde, went out vnto the tabernacle of the congregation whiche was without the hoast.

Coverdale Bible of 1535
Moses toke the Tabernacle, & pitched it without afarre of from ye hoost, and called it the Tabernacle of wytnesse. And who so euer wolde axe eny question at the LORDE, wente out vnto the Tabernacle of wytnesse before the hoost.

Tyndale Bible of 1526
And Moses toke the tabernacle ad pitched it without the hoste a ferre of fro the hoste, ad called it the tabernacle of wytnesse. And al that wold axe any questio of the Lorde, went out vnto the tabernacle of wytnesse which was without the hoste.

Catholic Public Domain Version
Also, Moses took the tabernacle and pitched it beyond the camp at a distance, and he called its name: ‘Tabernacle of the Covenant.’ And all the people, who had any kind of question, went out to the Tabernacle of the Covenant, beyond the camp.

Douay-Rheims American (1899)
Moses also taking the tabernacle, pitched it without the camp afar off, and called the name thereof, The tabernacle of the covenant. And all the people that had any question, went forth to the tabernacle of the covenant, without the camp.

Jubilee Bible
¶ And Moses took the tabernacle and pitched it outside the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of the testimony. And it came to pass that every one who sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the testimony, which was outside the camp.

King James Version (pubic domain)
And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.

Authorized King James Version (Cambridge, UK, not public domain)
And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.

New King James Version
Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp.

Wycliffe (2001, Terence Noble from the 1395 Wycliff-Purvey)
And Moses took the tabernacle, and set it far without the tents, and he called the name thereof the tabernacle of [the] bond of peace. And all the people that had any question, went out to the tabernacle of the bond of peace, without the tents. (And Moses took the Tabernacle, and set it up far away from the tents, and he called it the Tabernacle of the Covenant, that is, the Tabernacle of the Witnessing. And all the people, who had any question, went out to the Tabernacle of the Covenant, which was pitched far away from the camp.)

Everything Else

Good News Translation
Whenever the people of Israel set up camp, Moses would take the sacred Tent and put it up some distance outside the camp. It was called the Tent of the Lord’s presence, and anyone who wanted to consult the Lord would go out to it.

Lexham English Bible
And Moses took the tent and pitched it outside the camp far from the camp, and he called it the tent of assembly, and all seeking Yahweh would go out to the tent of assembly, which was outside the camp.

Orthodox Jewish Bible
And Moshe would take the Ohel, and pitch it outside the machaneh, afar off from the machaneh, and called it the Ohel Mo’ed. And it came to pass, that every one which sought Hashem went out unto the Ohel Mo’ed, which was outside the machaneh.

New English Bible
Moses used to take a [Or the] tent and pitch it at a distance outside the camp. He called it the Tent of the Presence, and everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the Tent of the Presence outside the camp.

Smith’s Literal Translation
And Moses will take the tent and stretched it from without the camp afar off from the camp, and he called it the tent of appointment And it was every one seeking Jehovah went forth to the tent of appointment, which is from without the camp.


The expression “the most holy place” occurs ten times in the KJV:

Exo 26:34 And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.

Num 18:10 In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee.

1Ki 6:16 And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.

1Ki 7:50 And the bowls, and the snuffers, and the basons, and the spoons, and the censers of pure gold; and the hinges of gold, both for the doors of the inner house, the most holy place, and for the doors of the house, to wit, of the temple.

1Ki 8:6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.

2Ch 4:22 And the snuffers, and the basons, and the spoons, and the censers, of pure gold: and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the most holy place, and the doors of the house of the temple, were of gold.

2Ch 5:7 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims:

Eze 41:4 So he measured the length thereof, twenty cubits; and the breadth, twenty cubits, before the temple: and he said unto me, This is the most holy place.

Eze 44:13 And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.

Eze 45:3 And of this measure shalt thou measure the length of five and twenty thousand, and the breadth of ten thousand: and in it shall be the sanctuary and the most holy place.

The expression “the most holy place” occurs twelve times in the ESV:

Exo 26:34 You shall put the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony in the Most Holy Place.

1Ki 6:16 He built twenty cubits of the rear of the house with boards of cedar from the floor to the walls, and he built this within as an inner sanctuary, as the Most Holy Place.

1Ki 7:50 the cups, snuffers, basins, dishes for incense, and fire pans, of pure gold; and the sockets of gold, for the doors of the innermost part of the house, the Most Holy Place, and for the doors of the nave of the temple.

1Ki 8:6 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim.

1Ch 6:49 But Aaron and his sons made offerings on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense for all the work of the Most Holy Place, and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded.

2Ch 3:8 And he made the Most Holy Place. Its length, corresponding to the breadth of the house, was twenty cubits, and its breadth was twenty cubits. He overlaid it with 600 talents[fn] of fine gold.

2Ch 3:10 In the Most Holy Place he made two cherubim of wood[fn] and overlaid[fn] them with gold.

2Ch 4:22 the snuffers, basins, dishes for incense, and fire pans, of pure gold, and the sockets[fn] of the temple, for the inner doors to the Most Holy Place and for the doors of the nave of the temple were of gold.

2Ch 5:7 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim.

Eze 41:4 And he measured the length of the room, twenty cubits, and its breadth, twenty cubits, across the nave. And he said to me, “This is the Most Holy Place.”

Eze 45:3 And from this measured district you shall measure off a section 25,000 cubits long and 10,000 broad, in which shall be the sanctuary, the Most Holy Place.

Heb 9:3 Behind the second curtain was a second section[fn] called the Most Holy Place,

The expression “the most holy place” occurs 14 times in the NASB:

Exo 26:33 “You shall hang up the veil under the clasps, and bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; and the veil shall serve as a partition for you between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.

Exo 26:34 “You shall put the atoning cover on the ark of the testimony in the Most Holy Place.

1Ki 6:16
He also built twenty cubits on the rear part of the house with boards of cedar from the floor to the [fn]ceiling; he built them for it on the inside as an inner sanctuary, as the Most Holy Place.

1Ki 7:50 also the cups, the shears, the bowls, the ladles, and the firepans, of pure gold; and the hinges both for the doors of the inner house, the Most Holy Place, and for the doors of the house, that is, for the main room, of gold.

1Ki 8:6 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim.

1Ch 6:49 But Aaron and his sons offered on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense, for all the work of the Most Holy Place, and to make atonement for Israel, in accordance with everything that Moses the servant of God had commanded.

2Ch 3:8 Then he made the room of the Most Holy Place: its length across the width of the house was twenty cubits, and its width was twenty cubits; and he overlaid it with fine gold, amounting to [fn]six hundred talents.

2Ch 3:10 Then he made two sculptured cherubim in the room of the Most Holy Place and overlaid them with gold.

2Ch 4:22 and the snuffers, the bowls, the spoons, and the firepans of pure gold; and the entrance of the house, its inner doors for the Most Holy Place and the doors of the house, that is, of the main room, of gold.

2Ch 5:7 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim.

Eze 41:4 And he measured its length, twenty cubits, and the width, twenty cubits, before the sanctuary; and he said to me, “This is the Most Holy Place.”

Eze 45:3 “From this area you shall measure a length of twenty-five thousand cubits and a width of ten thousand cubits; and in it shall be the sanctuary, the Most Holy Place.

Dan 9:24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to [fn]finish the wrongdoing, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.

Heb 9:3 Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Most Holy Place,


We hope this piques your interest in God’s dwelling inside a special room, and gives you enough scripture material to begin your own survey of tents and tabernacles and temples.

There is a confusing thicket of detail.

It is clear however, that God takes His tent — or whatever it is — very seriously.

It is also clear that God takes his presence inside His tent very seriously.


We pray that you read and study the actual Bible for yourself, and double-check everything we have said here by examining scripture and the best analysis from 2000 years of smart, devout commentators.

Our opening image is an example of Gnadenstuhl artwork. Look it up. Gnadenstuhl pieces show the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies. God with Christ with the two cherubim.

God’s blessings to you!

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