We have all had that experience of reading “the boring parts” of Scripture—the laws and building designs and lists of names and so on. We know building the temple was important, but we want to skip ahead to the “meaty stuff.” By applying the hermeneutic tool of typology, whereby the Old Testament is read as a prefiguration or prequel to the New, the Reformers were able to discern the meat of Christ’s presence in even the boring bits.
Like many sixteenth-century commentators, Scottish Reformed pastor and theologian David Dickson (1583?–1663) interprets the temple as a type of Christ and the church. By finding spiritual significance in the details of its construction, he reflects a common feature amongst Reformation exegetes.
The Meeting Place
The Lord’s holy temple or tabernacle represents Jesus Christ and his church. It also represents the mutual relations between God and his people. From this we learn the following:
The way to refresh and strengthen faith is to look to God in Christ the Mediator, reconciling the world to himself just as he was shadowed forth in the temple of Jerusalem; and as he is still held forth in the church, in his Word and in other ordinances . . . Christ is the meeting place, where God is constantly to be found on his mercy seat; for the Lord is in his holy temple, which speaks of the church by way of typology.