The tabernacle of David is referenced in the Bible in Isaiah 16:5 and Amos 9:11, which is repeated in Acts 15:16. The Hebrew word ohel, translated as "tabernacle," means tent, dwelling space, or home.
In Isaiah, the usage is prophetic and speaks of the future dwelling place of God that comes through the lineage of David. This tabernacle, a Person, will sit on the throne and rule over all. The passage clearly refers to Jesus.
When James brought up the Amos passage, he was in a meeting of Christians who were talking about how to deal with the conversion of Gentiles into the church. Some Jewish Christians were uncertain about the recent Gentile conversions and believed any Christian should be expected to keep the Law of Moses. James recalls Peter's visit with Cornelius, a Gentile, where he was told by God to welcome this man into the fellowship. Then, he follows that up with the passage from Amos about the "tent of David" being rebuilt. He means that God would welcome all people who seek Him to worship Him—Jew and Gentile—into His house and would live within His people (Acts 15:13–19). Gentiles being welcomed into the family of God agreed with the words of the prophets.
Another application of the Amos passage is when, in the end times, the Jewish nation is to be restored to spiritual life. Some scholars believe that a new and actual tabernacle, like the one in David's time, will be rebuilt and remain for a time. David's tabernacle held the Ark of the Covenant before his son Solomon built the temple. It was a sign of God's presence with the people and His favor toward them.
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