It is staggering really. In Exodus, God goes to great lengths to explain to Moses, and by extension, all Israel needed to do so that He could dwell with them. The Tabernacle where He chose to meet with them. The priest who could mediate. The sacrifices that would cover the sins. The Law that would outline the how they were to live as people separated to God. The entire system of rules, regulations, and rituals were put in place so God could dwell with them in all His undiluted holiness.
That was the whole purpose of rescuing them. So He could dwell with them. He would be their God. They would be His people. He provided instructions, patterns and even the craftsmen needed so that His glory would not consume the people as He dwelt with them. In the Tabernacle and later the Temple, a heavy veil separated the people from His glorious presence.
The better we grasp the awesome holiness of God, the more amazing and wondrous Christmas is. The apostle John puts it like this, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
The word John uses for dwelt is a unique one that actually means pitched a tent … or a tabernacle.
Charles Wesley explains:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail th’ incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
God’s great desire to be with His people has not changed. However, through Christ, the sacrifices, the mediation, and the necessary separation have been superseded by His own sacrifice and mediation. The with-dwelling has become the in-dwelling.
Glory to God in the Highest!