This carefully researched study on the tabernacle of the Old Testament draws from both Christian and Jewish sources. The author not only probes the nature of the construction of the tabernacle, but also explores its theological meaning in the Old and New Testaments.
The unavoidable conclusion the author draws is that the divinely instructed building of the tabernacle was evidence of God's desire to dwell with his people and to lead them. The author does not try to find typological significance for Christianity in every nook and cranny of the tabernacle, yet he does interpret the coming of the incarnate Christ and the establishing of the Christian church as fulfillment of God's desire to "tabernacle" (dwell) with his people.
The ultimate accomplishment of God's desire to dwell with his people is yet to come. Only in the heavenly city, in the new Jerusalem envisioned in Revelation 21–22, does the tabernacle find its final fulfillment. There God himself will dwell with his people eternally.
Paul M. Zehr was born in Croghan, NY where he grew up on a farm and attended local public schools. He later graduated from Eastern Mennonite College in 1962 and from Eastern Mennonite Seminary in 1965. After seminary, Paul pastored the First Mennonite Church of St. Petersburg, Florida from 1965 to 1973. Follwing this eight-year experience of pastoring an urban church, he attended Princeton Theological Seminary where he earned a Th.M. degree in Biblical Studies in 1975. He then pastored a small church and began teaching biblical and theological courses in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area. His teaching ministry reached several in-service pastors which led to his appointment as director of External Programs for Eastern Mennonite Seminary. It also created within him a greater awareness of the person, role, and function of the pastor. In 1980 he was ordained bishop and supervised pastors in five congregations for 25 years. In 1987 he graduated from The Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Doctor of Ministry degree. A major part of this doctoral study was the preparation of a philosophy of Mennonite pastoral education and a curriculum guide for Mennonite conference-based Pastoral Education. For more than 20 years he worked in Supervised Pastoral Education. His interest in biblical studies continued in teaching classes and in chairing the Editorial Council for the Believers Church Bible Commentary series.