Christ is the Anti-Typical Tabernacle

“The Typical significance of the tabernacle should be sought in close dependence upon its symbolic significance.  We must ask: where do these religious principles and realities, which the tabernacle served to teach and communicate , reappear in the subsequent history of redemption, lifted to their consummate stage?  First we discover them in the glorified Christ.  Of this speaks the Evangelist [John 1:14].  The Word become flesh is the One in whom God came to tabernacle among men, in order to reveal to them His grace and glory.  In John 2:19-22 Jesus Himself predicts that the Old Testament temple, which His enemies by their attitude are virtually destroying, He will build up again in three days, i.e., through the resurrection.  This affirms the continuity between the Old Testament sanctuary and His glorified person.  In Him will be for ever perpetuated all that tabernacle and temple stood for.  The structure of stone may disappear; the essence proves eternal.  In Colossians 2:9, Paul teaches that in Him the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily.  With these passages should be compared the sayings of Jesus to Nathanael [John 1:51] where He finds in Himself the fulfillment of what Jacob had called the house of God, the gate of heaven.  In all these cases the indwelling of God in Christ serves the same ends which the Mosaic Tabernacle provisionally served.  He as the antitypical tabernacle is revelatory and sacramental in the highest degree.

The Tabernacle Also a Type of the Church

But what is true of Christ is likewise true of the Church.  Of that also the tabernacle was a type.  This could not be otherwise, because the Church is the body of the risen Christ.  For this reason the Church is called ‘the house of God’ [Eph. 2:21,22; 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 3:6; 10:21; 1 Pet. 2:5].  An individual turn is given to the thought where the Christian is called a temple of God [1 Cor. 6:19].  It ought to be noticed that ‘house of God’ is not in the New Testament a mere figure of the fellowship between God and the Church, but always refers specifically to the Old Testament dwelling of Jehovah.  The highest realization of the tabernacle idea is ascribed to the eschatological stage of the history of redemption.  This is depicted by the Apocalypse [21:3].  The peculiarity of the representation here is that, in dependence on Isa. 4:5,6, the area of the tabernacle and temple are widened so as to become equally co-extensive with the entire New Jerusalem.  The necessity of a tabernacle or temple symbolic and typical, presupposes the imperfection of the present state of the theocracy.  When the theocracy will completely correspond to the divine ideal of it, then there will be no more need of symbol or type.  Hence the statement ‘I saw no temple therein’, vs. 22.  This does not, however, make it ‘the city without a church’.  Using Scriptural terminology, we should rather say that the place will be all church.” (Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, 1948, Banner of Truth, pg. 154-155)