Local News

June 4, 2013

Tabernacle replica brings Bible alive

Though the area is in the Bible belt, high school student Daniel Reyes isn’t sure most people fully understand the tabernacle God commanded the Israelites to build.

A true-to-size replica of the wilderness tabernacle, called Messiah’s Mansion, on display for the public in Dalton beginning Saturday may help them understand, said Reyes, a Dalton resident who is home for the summer from Ouachita Hills Academy in Arkansas.

“It made it more real,” Reyes said recalling the first time he saw Messiah’s Mansion. “I loved it. I had never seen anything like it.... I know it will be a blessing to the community.”

When Reyes found out the mission was coming to Dalton, he wanted to help make it come alive. He volunteered to help assemble it.

The tabernacle is at the Dalton Seventh-day Adventist Church and will be open to the public Saturday through June 16. Tours begin at 12:30 p.m. daily every 15 minutes. On Saturday and Sunday the last tour is at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday the last tour is at 6 p.m. There is no charge.

Messiah’s Mansion is an outreach mission project that travels during the summer bringing the tabernacle to life and explaining the history and significance behind it as well as today’s relevance. Many of the people who work on and for the project are students at Oklahoma Academy.

The exhibit shows the 75 by 150 feet courtyard, the Holy Place and Most Holy Place and furnishings of the tabernacle, such as the table of showbread and the lampstand. It includes the tent, which was 15 feet tall.

“It’s great for young people,” said Nathan Shires, assistant director for Messiah’s Mansion. “You can see it. It brings it to life. You don’t forget.”

Brent Goodge, a member of the Dalton church, saw the tabernacle a few years ago in Atlanta. He was especially impressed with the tour guide’s expansive knowledge.

“We like to let the community see a very educational and historical exhibit,” Goodge said. “At the same time, hopefully they will see it in a new light, that everything pointed to Jesus. It’s not just a collection of ceremonies. It was all prophecy of the Messiah.”

When church members began to organize this year’s vacation Bible school, they wanted to do something different. They also wanted an adult program. So they planned it around Messiah’s Mansion.

The program, from June 10 to 14 at 6:30 nightly, revolves around the tabernacle and has a program for all ages. Children will have crafts and stories, along with mini-tours of the replica. Adults will have lectures revealing how the sanctuary pointed to Jesus and how it is still relevant today.

Goodge said the programs are geared toward any denomination and are biblically based.

Friday, there will be a program for pastors and community leaders to see the Messiah’s Mansion. Tours will be given every 15 minutes beginning at 5:30 p.m. The last one begins at 8.

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