Ross Blackburn, a grad student at St Andrews University, presented a good paper on the tabernacle in the context of Exodus. He sees the theological unity of Exodus contained in YHWH’s insistence on pursuing and defending His own honor not only to Israel but before the nations. The plagues are to show Pharaoh that he is Lord; Israel’s wilderness experience trains Israel to know that YHWH is Lord; the tabernacle is a continuing sign that YHWH is king over Israel and the nations. This has some very neat typological implications ?Eincarnation as the “tabernacling” of God to demonstrate His Lordship over Israel and the nations.
Another paper from the same seminar, by a grad student from TEDS, argued that the tabernacle was not only for God’s dwelling among Israel but also for God’s guiding of Israel. Though the cloud that led Israel was not permanently attached to the tent, theologically Exodus brings the two realities into one. There is a tent-cloud complex, so that the glory dwelling in the midst of Israel becomes also the glory that guides Israel to the promised land. The cloud guides, after the end of Exodus 40, only in connection with the tabernacle. Again, lots of neat typological implications from this.
In this second paper, the prayer of Moses after the golden calf incident was a prayer that God not merely GUIDE Israel, but that He guide them by dwelling among them.