An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


According to Ex 25-30, 35-40, the Tabernacle was a portable sanctuary of the Israelites. It was constructed at Sinai in connection with the making of the covenant. It was to be a place of sacrifice and worship. Rectangular in shape, the Tabernacle had a wooden framework and was covered with curtains. Its two main sections were the “holy place” and the “holy of holies.” The holy of holies contained the Ark of the Covenant. The table of incense, the seven-branched lampstand, and the table for the bread of the presence stood in the holy place.

The description of the Tabernacle in Exodus comes from the fifth century B.C. Priestly source of the Pentateuch. In some respects this description probably reflects the structure and furnishings of the Solomonic Temple. The shrine of the time of Moses may have been a somewhat simpler tent, which appears in Ex 33:7-11 and elsewhere as the Tent of Meeting.

In the NT the Letter to the Hebrews sees the true Tabernacle as the one in heaven where Christ is the high priest (see Heb 8:1-6, 9:24).

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.