Owen: God Revealed To Moses The Incarnation And Mediation Of Christ

That God did spiritually and mystically represent unto Moses the incarnation and mediation of Christ, with the church of the elect which was to be gathered thereby, and its spiritual worship. And moreover, he let him know how the tabernacle and all that belonged thereunto, did represent him and them. For the tabernacle that Moses made was a sign and figure of the body of Christ. This we have proved in the exposition of the second verse of this chapter; and it is positively affirmed by the apostle, Col. 2:17. For therein would God dwell really and substantially: Col. 2:9, “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” And the tabernacle was but to represent this inhabitation of God in Christ. Therefore did he dwell therein typically by sundry pledges of his presence, that he might represent the real substantial inhabitation of the Godhead in the body or human nature of Christ. This, therefore, was the ἀρχέτυπος, whereunto the tabernacle was to be framed; and this was that which was showed unto Moses on the top of the mount. These were the “heavenly things,” which they served unto the resemblance and shadow of. It is therefore most probable, and most agreeable unto the mystery of the wisdom of God in these things, that, before the building of the tabernacle below, God did show unto Moses what was to be signified and represented thereby, and what he would introduce when that was to be taken away. He first showed “the true tabernacle,” then appointed a figure of it, which was to abide and serve the worship of the church, until that true one was to be introduced, when this was to be taken down and removed out of the way: which is the substance of what the apostle designeth to prove.

John Owen, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews , ed. W. H. Goold, vol. 23, Works of John Owen (Edinburgh: Johnstone and Hunter, 1854), 46–47.


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