Dedication: For a very dear friend who is laboring hard for vain riches and eating bread by the sweat of his brow.
I have run across a nugget that I am still researching out, but it is a very comforting little slice of Scriptural reasoning for me.
At that the entire multitude became silent, and they began to listen to Barnabas and Paul relate the many signs and portents that God did through them among the nations. After they quit speaking, James answered, saying: “Men, brothers, hear me. Symeon has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name. And with this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After these things I shall return and rebuild the booth of David that is fallen down; and I shall rebuild its ruins and erect it again, in order that those who remain of the men may earnestly seek Jehovah, together with people of all the nations, people who are called by my name, says Jehovah, who is doing these things, known from of old.’ Hence my decision is not to trouble those from the nations who are turning to God, but to write them to abstain from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. For from ancient times Moses has had in city after city those who preach him, because he is read aloud in the synagogues on every sabbath.”
Amos 9:11 "'In that day I shall raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and I shall certainly repair their breaches. And its ruins I shall raise up, and I shall certainly build it up as in the days of long ago.'"
Now, the word for booth means "tent" or "tabernacle". This could not possibly mean the Solomon's Temple, for David did not erect it and a temple of that grandeur is hardly a tabernacle. It could not be referring to the tabernacle of Moses, for that tabernacle was designed and manufactured before David was born. So, I searched for David's tabernacle. And I found it. This may not be a startling revelation to some who have been out for a long time, it may not be a startling revelation at all, but it struck me as a really cool find and I have been studying it for a while now.
The ark of the covenant was stolen by the Philistines the same day that Hophni and Phinehas, Eli's sons, died. They didn't keep it because they believed Jehovah executed a statue of Dagon on account of their theft. So they snuck into Gath and "dropped off" the ark there. But that set off a plague of piles, so they moved it to Ekron. But Ekron didn't want piles so they decided to take it back to the Israelites. Finally, along with a disgusting offering of images of golden piles in honor of the affliction, the ark came to rest in Abinidab's house at Kiriath-jearim.
Well, the ark dwelt for many years at Kiriath-jearim. During all this time, it had an appointed keeper. The ark represented the presence of God. But it wasn't in the Tabernacle of Moses. The priests kept on carrying out their rituals according to the rules, and offering their sacrifices according to the letter of the law, but when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, he walked into a room without the ark. And still, no one was allowed into the Holy of Holies save for the High Priest. Their worship was according to law, rigid, formulaic, ritualistic, and absent the presence of God.
1 Chronicles 15:25-16:6 And David and the older men of Israel and the chiefs of the thousands came to be the ones walking along to bring up the ark of the covenant of Jehovah from the house of Obed-edom with rejoicing. And it came about when the [true] God helped the Levites while carrying the ark of the covenant of Jehovah that they proceeded to sacrifice seven young bulls and seven rams. And David was dressed in a sleeveless coat of fine fabric, and also all the Levites carrying the Ark and the singers and Chenaniah the chief of the carrying by the singers; but upon David there was an ephod of linen. And all the Israelites were bringing up the ark of the covenant of Jehovah with joyful shouting and with the sounding of the horn and with trumpets and with cymbals, playing aloud on stringed instruments and harps.
And it came about that, when the ark of the covenant of Jehovah came as far as the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, herself looked down through the window and got to see King David skipping about and celebrating; and she began to despise him in her heart.
16 Thus they brought the ark of the [true] God in and placed it inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and they began to present burnt offerings and communion sacrifices before the [true] God. When David finished offering up the burnt offering and the communion sacrifices, he went on to bless the people in the name of Jehovah. Further, he apportioned to all the Israelites, man as well as woman, to each one a round loaf of bread and a date cake and a raisin cake. Then he put before the ark of Jehovah some of the Levites as ministers, both to call to remembrance and to thank and praise Jehovah the God of Israel, Asaph the head, and second to him Zechariah, [and] Jeiel and Shemiramoth and Jehiel and Mattithiah and Eliab and Benaiah and Obed-edom and Jeiel, with instruments of the string type and with harps, and Asaph with the cymbals playing aloud, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests with the trumpets constantly before the ark of the covenant of the [true] God.
When the ark returns, David pitches a tabernacle for it. The ALL the Israelites offer sacrifices before it. While the priests were busy in the Tabernacle of Moses, this was going on in the tabernacle of David. But this tent had no division of temple, Holy, and Holy of Holies. This tent had no curtain shielding anyone from entering right into the presence of God. The alien resident could look right at the ark, without fear, in David's tabernacle.
None of the ceremonies that accompanied the offication within the Mosaic Tabernacle were present in this tabernacle. People were singing and dancing as the mood struck them, they were playing music 'round the clock and praising God. They were celebrating their restored relationship with God, for that is surely what they felt the return of the ark symbolized.
Over in the Tabernacle of Moses, they went through the motions of worship, but they weren't celebrating.
Acts says that the booth or tabernacle of David would correspond to the worship of Christians, not the formulaic rule-oriented worship of the Tabernacle of Moses and later the temple. No one would be blocked from approaching the presence of God and they would be encouraged to celebrate their restored relationship.
I thought some might enjoy this. I have enjoyed studying it out. I would love to read your thoughts on the subject.