American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The portable sanctuary in which the Jews carried the Ark of the Covenant through the desert.
- n. A case or box on a church altar containing the consecrated host and wine of the Eucharist.
- n. A place of worship.
- n. A niche for a statue or relic.
- n. Nautical A boxlike support in which the heel of a mast is stepped.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A tent; a pavilion; a booth; a slightly constructed habitation or shelter, either fixed or movable; hence, a habitation in general, especially one regarded as temporary; a place of sojourn; a transient abode.
- n. In Biblical phraseology, the human frame as the temporary abode of the soul, or of man as a spiritual immortal being.
- n. In Jewish hist., a tent constructed to serve as the portable sanctuary of the nation before its final settlement in Palestine. This “tabernacle of the congregation” is fully described in Ex. xxv.-xxvii. and xxxvi.-xxxviii. It comprised, besides the tent, an inclosure or yard, in which were the altar of burnt-offerings and the laver. The tabernacle proper was a tent divided into two chambers by a veil—the inner chamber, or holy of holies, containing the ark of the covenant and the mercy-seat, and the outer chamber the altar of incense, the table of showbread, and the golden candlestick. The tabernacle was of a rectangular figure 45 feet by 15, and 15 feet in height. The court or yard was 150 feet in length by 75 feet, and surrounded by screens 7½ feet high. The people pitched round the tabernacle by tribes in a fixed order during their wanderings, and the pillar of cloud and of fire, denoting Jehovah's presence, rested upon it or was lifted from it according as they were to remain stationary or were to go forward. After the arrival in the promised land it was set up in various places, especially at Shiloh, but gradually lost its exclusive character as the center of national worship before the building of Solomon's temple, in which its contents were eventually placed.
- n. Hence A place or house of worship; especially, in modern use, an edifice for public worship designed for a large audience: often now the distinctive name assumed for such an edifice.
- n. A receptacle for the reserved eucharist; especially, a constructional receptacle for this purpose, containing the pyx. The tabernacle, as now commonly seen in Roman Catholic churches, is a recess with a door, placed over and behind the high altar or one of the side altars, usually having over it a cross or crucifix with a design in relief, the whole surmounted by a canopy. In earlier times a movable ark, or usually a suspended dove (columba) or a tower, held the eucharist or the vessel containing it. In England the general medieval custom was to place the sacrament in an ambry on one side of the sanctuary or in the sacristry. The tabernacle is a later development of the ark or ambry as a permanent construction over the high altar and surmounted by a canopy or ciborium, often in the spire-like shape developed from the older tower; hence the name tabernacle is often given especially to this canopy or to canopies of similar appearance.
- n. In medieval architecture, a canopied stall, niche, or pinnacle; a cabinet or shrine ornamented with openwork tracery, etc.; an arched canopy over a tomb, an altar, etc.
- n. Nautical, an elevated socket for a river-boat's mast, or a projecting post to which a mast may be hinged when fitted for lowering to pass beneath bridges.
- To sojourn or abide for a time; take up a temporary habitation or residence.
- n. any temporary dwelling, a hut, tent, booth.
- n. The portable tent used before the construction of the temple, where the shekinah (presence of God) was believed to dwell.
- n. transferred to the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem as continuing the functions of the earlier tabernacle
- n. Any portable shrine used in heathen or idolatrous worship
- n. A sukkah, the booth or 'tabernacle' used during the Jewish Feast of Sukkot.
- n. A small ornamented cupboard or box used for the reserved sacrament of the Eucharist, normally located in an especially prominent place in a Roman Catholic church.
- n. US A temporary place of worship, especially a tent, for a tent meeting, as with a venue for revival meetings.
- n. figuratively of any abode or dwelling place, especially of the human body as the temporary dwelling place of the soul, or life
- n. nautical A hinged device allowing for the easy folding of a mast 90 degrees from perpendicular, as for transporting the boat on a trailer, or passing under a bridge.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A slightly built or temporary habitation; especially, a tent.
- n. (Jewish Antiq.) A portable structure of wooden framework covered with curtains, which was carried through the wilderness in the Israelitish exodus, as a place of sacrifice and worship.
- n. Hence, the Jewish temple; sometimes, any other place for worship.
- n. Figuratively: The human body, as the temporary abode of the soul.
- n. Any small cell, or like place, in which some holy or precious things was deposited or kept.
- n. The ornamental receptacle for the pyx, or for the consecrated elements, whether a part of a building or movable.
- n. A niche for the image of a saint, or for any sacred painting or sculpture.
- n. Hence, a work of art of sacred subject, having a partially architectural character, as a solid frame resting on a bracket, or the like.
- n. A tryptich for sacred imagery.
- n. A seat or stall in a choir, with its canopy.
- n. (Naut.) A boxlike step for a mast with the after side open, so that the mast can be lowered to pass under bridges, etc.
- v. To dwell or reside for a time; to be temporary housed.
- n. the Mormon temple
- n. (Judaism) the place of worship for a Jewish congregation
- n. (Judaism) a portable sanctuary in which the Jews carried the Ark of the Covenant on their exodus
- Middle English from the 14th century, from Old French, from Latin tabernaculum ("tent, booth, shed"), the diminutive of taberna ("hut, shed") (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin tabernāculum, from Latin, tent, diminutive of taberna, hut; see tavern. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The use of a veil outside or within the tabernacle is an old custom, hearkening to the Old Testament imagery of the sanctuary tent and the Temple.”
“God's tabernacle is called the tabernacle of David because David desired and chose to dwell in God's tabernacle for ever, Ps. lxi.”
“Although this is a complex question and would require a more profound reflection, one can probably ackowledge that the moving of the tabernacle from the altar of celebration versus populum (i.e., the new altar) has some arguments more in its favor, since it is based not only on the conflict of presences, but also on the principle of the truth of the liturgical signs.”
“Although those who genuflect when a tabernacle is not present or when the Blessed Sacrament is clearly removed from the tabernacle (for example, during much of the Sacred Triduum) typically do so out of a commendable pious habit, they should instead bow out of reverence towards the altar.”
“Indeed, if the tabernacle is significantly isolated from the place of the routine public celebration of the sacred liturgy, then the possibility exists of the reserved sacrament gradually slipping from the parish or communal consciousness and being visited privately only by a few.”
“In the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend, the Bishop has judged that the tabernacle is normally to be prominently located in the sanctuary of the church, along the central axis behind the main altar.”
“Before or after Mass, when the tabernacle is visible somewhere in the church, genuflection should be directed towards it.”
“The height given to the tabernacle is quite nice, as are, again, the materials used in the construction.”
“Wasn't it called the tabernacle where the big meetings were held?”
“At the moment I drew near he was having a long and involved argument with another controversialist touching on the sense of the word tabernacle as employed Scripturally, one holding it to mean the fleshly tenement of the soul and the other an actual place of worship.”
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