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Confusion on the Davidic Tabernacle

 

Submitted by Craig “Lee” Dorsheimer 

 

The current issue [July 2008] of Charisma Magazine contains an article by Mike Bickle, president and director of the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City, MO, titled The Tabernacle of David.  This piece is essentially a word for word reprint of a 2000 article of the same name.  The only difference is that the original added an introductory sentence referencing an article from the previous month.  Here’s the original article from the Charisma archives:

 

http://charismamag.com/index.php/columns/265-passion-for-jesus/507-enjoyable-prayer

 

Compare the original to the current piece:

 

 

http://charismamag.com/index.php/charisma-channels/prayer/18744

 

Given that the deletion of this prefatory comment is an obvious revision, it is curious that some of the errors in this article as pointed out on The International House of Prayers’ “Affirmations and Denials” tab are still there.  Is Mike Bickle aware that this article, which he corrects in part on his website, is uncorrected at Charisma?   Is Charisma aware of Bickle’s correction?

 

The original article and its current version point to the fallacy upon which the whole teaching is based and IHOP’s 24 hour worship is practiced.  The faulty premise comes from an incorrect exegesis of Acts 15:16-17 and an incorrect assumption about the unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant.  First, the Acts misinterpretation:

 

I came across this secret when I was studying the tabernacle of David (see Acts 15:16-17), the perfect model of a 24-hour-a-day prayer and worship ministry. King David assigned musicians and singers, whom he had trained in the prophetic spirit (see 1 Chr. 25:1-3), to worship God continuously before the ark.”[1]

 

Here are the Acts 15:16-17 verses:

 

16 ‘After this I will return

And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down;

I will rebuild its ruins,

And I will set it up;

17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD,

Even all the Gentiles who are called by my name,

Says the LORD who does all these things.’ [NKJV]

 

Put in the context of the whole of Acts chapter 15 we see Paul, Barnabas and Peter explaining why the Gentiles did not need to conform to the Mosaic ritual of circumcision and to Mosaic Law.  Verses 16 and 17 are James answer to the Judiazers using words from the prophet Amos.  The ‘tabernacle’ which had ‘fallen down’ was the Davidic dynasty/lineage fulfilled in Jesus.  In Jesus, Gentiles, not just Jews, would be saved.  This passage speaks nothing about David’s make-shift Tabernacle housing the Ark of the Covenant [1 Chronicles 15:1 and 16:1].  Bickle’s error in the original article was clarified on the IHOP “Affirmations and Denials” page shown here:

http://www.ihop.org/Articles/1000050149/International_House_of/About_Us/Our_Beliefs/Affirmations_and_Denials.aspx

Following is the complete statement:

 

The Tabernacle of David

 

WE AFFIRM

the Holy Spirit is orchestrating a global worship and prayer movement that will operate in great authority (Luke 18:7–8; Matthew 21:13; Revelation 5:8, 8:3–5, 22:17; Isaiah 62:6–7; Joel 2:12–17 and 32). This prayer movement will operate in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David.
 
WE DENY the restoration of the tabernacle of David is the same as the end-time prayer movement.
  
Explanation: In the days of King David, he established a tabernacle that had singers and musicians who ministered to the Lord day and night. Today, the prayer movement is in the spirit of David’s Tabernacle. This means that the prayer movement will have some components of the Tabernacle of David, specifically pertaining to singers and musicians.
 
The promise of the restoration of the tabernacle of David refers to the governmental restoration of David’s international rule as part of the restoration of national Israel in the Millennial Kingdom.
  
 
 
 
 
 

 

The context of Amos 9:11–12 is the governmental rule of Jesus over all the nations from Jerusalem.
 
In Acts 15:13–18, James referred to Amos 9:11 declaring that Gentiles should be accepted into the predominantly Jewish Body of Christ, without needing to convert to Judaism. The apostles understood that in the End Times, God would re-establish the Messianic kingdom over all the nations. God has just visited the Gentiles with salvation at Cornelius’ house (Acts 10). This was in agreement with Old Testament prophecy. James quoted Amos to prove that many Gentiles will be saved in context to the restoration of the Davidic dynastic reign. This restoration will of course include David’s heart for worship and prayer. Though Amos 9:11 is not prophesying primarily about 24/7 intercessory worship, it will be a foundational reality in the release of Jesus’ worldwide rule over the nations. The prophetic word given to Mike Bickle in May 1983 was that “God would release 24 hour-a-day prayer in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David.” In other words, it would involve prophetic singers and musicians. Worship and intercession is not in itself the actual restoration of David’s tabernacle![2]

 

The last three paragraphs above go about clarifying/correcting the Acts and Amos passages cited in the original article.  For sake of comparison with the Acts verses and completeness, here are the Amos 9:11-12 verses which were paraphrased a bit by James in Acts:

 

11 “On that day I will raise up

The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down,

And repair its damages;

I will raise up it ruins,

And rebuild is as in the days of old;

12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom,

And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,”

Says the LORD who does this thing. [Amos 9:11-12 NKJV]

 

While Bickle corrects these verses [although verse 11 is also considered Messianic – as in Jesus’ first coming], he takes a bit of license with the last few sentences of the last paragraph.  How does he know that ‘24/7 intercessory worship’ as exemplified in King David’s reign during the time he had the Ark in Jerusalem will be a ‘reality’ in Jesus’ millennial reign?  Given that this whole Tabernacle of David prophecy comes from a ‘prophetic word’ from Bob Jones, how can anyone be sure based on Jones’ own assertion that New Testament prophecies will be about 2/3rds right at best?  And, when Bickle states that Amos 9:11 does not ‘primarily’ speak about ‘24/7 intercessory worship’ he is again taking license as this verse says nothing about full time worship – or any kind of worship. 

 

It’s interesting to note that this same faulty exegesis regarding Acts 15:16-17 is found quite a bit on the internet.  Just do a web search for “tabernacle of david” and see how many sites come up with this same error.

 

Now, moving on to the unveiling of the Ark: Bickle asserts that David’s Tabernacle did not have a veil concealing the Ark of the Covenant from view. 

 

“In David’s tabernacle there was no veil to keep the people from seeing the glory of God.”[3]         

 

He goes on to explain how the Davidic worshipers were in effect a ‘human veil’ over the Ark.  He cites a number of scripture references [1 Chronicles 6:31-33; 15:16-22; 23:4-6; 25:7] yet none specifically state that there was no covering in front of or over the Ark.  Two of these passages actually conflict Bickle’s assertion especially the 6:31-32 verses:

 

31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the LORD after the ark came to rest there. 32 They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them. [1 Chronicles 6:31-32 NKJV emphasis mine]

 

This position of an unveiled Ark is not supported in scripture.  This would be contrary to the example provided by Moses whose Tabernacle had an inner room termed the ‘Most Holy Place’ housing the Ark with a thick curtain/veil separating this room from the rest of the structure [Exodus 25 – 27].  Besides 1 Chronicles 6:31-32; 23:4, here are the only two Biblical passages directly referencing David’s make-shift Tabernacle dwelling itself:

 

 1 David built houses for himself in the City of David; and he prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched a tent for it. [1 Chronicles 15:1 / 2 Samuel 6:17 NKJV]

 

1 So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. [1 Chronicles 16:1 NKJV]

 

 [As an aside: it’s interesting to note that the Hebrew transliterated word for both ‘tent’ and ‘tabernacle’ in these Chronicles passages are both ‘‘ohel;’ whereas, the word for ‘tabernacle’ in Exodus 26:1, the Mosaic Tabernacle,  is ‘mishkan’ in the Hebrew thereby illustrating the difference between the two.  Additionally, the transliterated word for ‘tabernacle’ in the Amos verse is ‘cukkah.’ All three are different!]

 

In addition, even an unveiling of the Ark during transportation was apparently forbidden as per instructions Moses gave in Numbers 4:4-6:

 

4 “This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of meeting, relating to the most holy things: 5 When the camp prepares to journey, Aaron and his sons shall come, and they shall take down the covering veil and cover the ark of the Testimony with it. 6 Then they shall put on it a covering of badger skins, and spread over that a cloth entirely of blue; and they shall insert its poles.  [NKJV]

 

Therefore, we cannot assume the Ark in the Davidic Tabernacle was somehow left open, unveiled for all to see.  Since only the Levitical High Priest was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place/Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement, how could we assume the Ark was left in open view?  In addition, in light of the fact that with Jesus’ atoning death on the cross the curtain of the temple was torn thereby signifying that we may now enter the Holy of Holies/Most Holy Place directly [Mark 15:38; Hebrews 9:8-10:12; 10:19-20], why would we assume that the Ark was ever previously in plain sight? 

 

Furthermore – and most importantly – why would we want to resurrect an Old Testament pre-Messianic era practice?   With Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we are now the temple with the Holy Spirit living inside of us.

 

Now, I’m not opposed to corporate prayer.  I’m not opposed to 24/7 prayer.  But, the ToD is promoting just another ritual.  We have enough of those already.

 

Going back to the “Affirmations and Denials” page, the “WE AFFIRM” section uses a bit of scripture to support the ToD stance.  However, the references do not support the assertion that the Holy Spirit is ‘orchestrating a global worship and prayer movement that will operate in great authority.’  Nor do they support anything about a ‘spirit’ of operating in the ToD.

 

There’s also some confusion – at least to this reader – with the wording in this section.  Starting from the very top in the “WE AFFIRM” section it is clear Bickle is speaking of a prayer movement which will be in the ‘spirit’ of the Tabernacle of David.  And, the restoration of the ToD is not the same as the end-time prayer movement according to the “WE DENY” section.  Does this mean Bickle’s ToD is not an end-time prayer movement but a prayer movement not specifically related to end-times instead; or, does it mean that it’s not the same as the restoration of the Tabernacle of David which refers to the nation Israel’s reestablishment in the Millennial Kingdom?  Looking at the last paragraph of the Charisma article, Bickle refers to the ToD as end-time worship.

 

Is there significance in identifying it as NOT an end-times prayer movement as opposed to simply a prayer movement?

 

The bottom line is there is no Biblical support for Bickle’s Tabernacle of David.  The initial scriptural basis used for it in Acts 15 has been clarified and denied as being improper exegesis.  But, what about the current piece in Charisma which is at odds with the “Affirmations and Denials” of the ToD on the IHOP site?  Could the initial attempt to line up this practice to the Word of God have been instead a matter of eisegesis – looking for Biblical texts to support a ‘prophetic word’ of Bob Jones? 

 

Further, the assertion that the Ark was unveiled for all to worship in front of is Biblically unsupportable as well.  In fact, it’s easy to refute Biblically.  So, where’s the justification for the ToD?

 

 

 

[1] Mike Bickle, “The Tabernacle of David,” Charisma Magazine July 2008 <http://charismamag.com/index.php/charisma-channels/prayer/18744

 

2 Mike Bickle, The Tabernacle of David,” Affirmations and Denials, International House of Prayer , http://www.ihop.org/Articles/1000050149/International_House_of/About_Us/Our_Beliefs/Affirmations_and_Denials.aspx 

3 Charisma Magazine

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