Sunday, August 21, 2016

Review: The Temple and the Tabernacle

I just finished reading "The Temple and the Tabernacle" by J. Daniel Hays and must say this was a excellent read. One might at first glance think a book by such a title deals only with issues of the Old Testament and belongs buried in the stacks of Old Testament Studies but this is not the case with this book. The very first thing that struck me when I opened this book was the colour. The book has many full colour illustrations throughout featuring artist renderings, archaeological finds and photos of scale models. The images are high quality and wonderfully compliment the text.

As for the text itself, the eight chapters are written in very accessible language keeping this book very readable. Though easy to read, it is full of excellent material and thoughtful insights. One thing that Hays does well in this book is begin with a succinct summary and finish with a conclusion that offers how this topic relates to the church today. This "so what" conclusion really helps one reflect on the content of the book and how to read the Old Testament in light of it. I think one of the most important points Hays makes here is showing how through the tabernacle and the iterations of the temple God was seeking to dwell with us but His holiness and our sinfulness required levels of separation. When one looks back on levels of separation that were required between us and the most holy place, it helps us see the incredible gift we have that the Holy Spirit now dwells within us.

One section that found particularly interesting was the chapter on Solomon's temple and the comparison between the construction account in 1 Kings and the construction of the Tabernacle in Exodus. His comparison of the two accounts helps show the trajectory the nation of Israel is on through the remainder of the book of Kings and provides a useful background to the events recorded in the remainder of 1&2 Kings.

The chapter dealing with the temple in the New Testament is also quite helpful. Apart from addressing the theological issues around the Temple in light of the reality of Christ, Hays does a great job at providing the background to the New Testament events that occur in and around the temple. His treatment of this background helps bring the events of the Gospels and Acts alive and give the reader a deeper appreciation of those events.

Overall I think this is a wonderful book that will enrich one's understanding of one of the most important structures and institutions found in scripture and give one a deeper appreciation of the God who seeks to dwell with us.

(I received this book from Baker Books in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own)

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