“… Just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, ‘See,’ He says, ‘That you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.’”– Hebrews 8:5
The tabernacle’s importance in the Old Testament economy can hardly be overestimated. Its construction takes up sixteen chapters in Exodus alone.1 It was placed in the geographical center of the tribes2 and was the focal point of their religious service to God. At the same time, this tabernacle was only a type or shadow of a much greater reality. It prefigured the Son of God who “became flesh and dwelt [Literally, “tabernacled”] among us.”3 It was also a type or figure of the church. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”4
In light of the above, it is reasonable that God’s instruction to Moses regarding the building of the tabernacle should include stern warnings that required him to adhere to every detail and that gave him no license for creativity. “See to it,” God warns, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” If such attention to every detail of God’s instruction was demanded for the building of a tabernacle that was only a shadow or type of the church, how much greater is the divine demand that we adhere to every detail of God’s instruction for building the church both at home and abroad! God warned Moses to “make all things according to the pattern which was shown him,” without deviation, subtraction, or addition. How much more must we be zealous, even fearful to follow God’s pattern for the church and the Great Commission—the pattern that is revealed in the Scriptures!
In many ways, the work of the Great Commission has become entangled in a seemingly endless web of church growth strategies and mission methodologies. The carnality of these systems is proven by their lack of endurance. What is all the rage today will be gone tomorrow and replaced by another strategy with similar great but hollow promises of evangelistic success. In the midst of all these voices clamoring for attention, we must remember that the Great Commission is about man’s need to know and submit his entire life to biblical truth. It is therefore contradictory and self-defeating to pass over the Scriptures in order to find a method for taking the Scriptures to the world. It is a logical absurdity and a contrivance that will collapse under the weight of its own error. Furthermore, we must understand that as Christians we can waste our lives on the mission field as readily as we might waste them in the comforts of our own homes. We must not spend our lives jumping from one sinking strategy to another. Instead, we must determine to be good stewards of God and His church by conforming our lives and ministries to what is written. We must always remember that genuine success in the eyes of God is found in simple faithfulness and obedience to His revealed will.
- Exodus 25-40
- Numbers 2
- John 1:14 – “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The word “dwelt” is translated from the Greek word skenóo, which literally means “to pitch or dwell in a tent.”
- I Corinthians 3:16
Paul is the founder of HeartCry Missionary Society and currently serves as its missions director. He also ministered as a missionary in Peru for ten years. He has preached hundreds of sermons and has authored a dozen published works. Paul lives in Radford, Virginia, with his wife Charo and their four children: Ian, Evan, Rowan, and Bronwyn.More By Paul David Washer