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Walk-through tabernacle replica in Israel reflects atonementcomment (0)

May 10, 2012

As the little girl stepped forward to pull back the ornate curtain, her eyes widened.

“Are we going to die?” she asked.

She and hundreds of other Jewish children take it seriously when they enter the Holy of Holies at the tabernacle in Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city.

“Children in Israel study the tabernacle in school,”  said Josh, who helps with the full-size replica along with his wife Sarah. “They bring their tape measures here with them so that they can make sure this one is the size it’s supposed to be.”

And it is.

The walk-through model of the tabernacle — which gets about 15,000 visitors a year — is made to the stipulations listed in Scripture, Josh said.

It wows the kids, but it’s not just for children, nor just for Jews, said Herb, a Southern Baptist representative living in Israel.

“When people read the Bible, they often get to the details of the tabernacle and think, ‘Boring!’ For many people, it’s the driest part to read,” Herb said. “But it really is exciting when you get into the details. It lays the foundation for our history of faith.”

That’s why he and others decided to bring the tabernacle replica to Eilat, Israel, from Germany in 2000.

The tabernacle screams out the message of atonement, Sarah said.

“The sacrifices that happened at the tabernacle were the first way God gave His people for atonement,” she said.

The tabernacle replica is a picture of reconciliation in more ways than one, said Yohannus Vogel of the Bible Center, a Bible school in Breckerfeld, Germany.

The school chose to build the model to show Israel honor on the occasion of the school’s 30th anniversary in 1986, Vogel said. Built on the school’s campus, the tabernacle had 15,000 visitors in its first two months. Thirty of them decided to follow Jesus Christ as Savior.

Students manned the model and gave tours seven days a week, and some time later the school decided to send it on tour around Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

“It had 500,000 visitors in all, but afterward it ended up in storage,” Vogel said. 

And that’s when he got a call from Herb asking if he could rent the replica and put it in Israel. The same week, Vogel got a call from someone who had space for it in southern Israel, near where the Israelites passed through with the tabernacle on their way to the Promised Land.

“In one week, two people with the same burden of their heart called me in Germany about the same tabernacle,” Vogel said. “One had the money to move it but not the land, and the other had the land and not the money.”

It was a divine appointment, he said, and in 2000 the tabernacle found its home in Eilat.

As you walk through the details of the tabernacle and see it come to life, the message of redemption becomes vibrant, Sarah said. 

“When people ask questions, we say, ‘Go back and read the Bible for yourselves,’” Sarah said. “If they go home and even open their Bible, that’s a huge step.”

Editor’s Note: Workers at the site have asked that only their first names be used in this article. 


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