In his monumental 1974 commentary on the Book of Exodus, Yale professor Brevard Childs provided an overview of the long history in which both Jewish and Christian interpreters have sought to understand the tabernacle. Childs noticed a consistent and common fascination with this unique place of worship. The biblical description of the tabernacle, he wrote, "has been regarded from the beginning with the greatest possible interest by Jewish and Christian scholars alike.". And what has been the reason for this? Childs offered a two-part explanation:
First, the dimension of the tabernacle and all its parts reflect a carefully contrived design and a harmonious whole. The numbers 3, 4, 10 predominate with proportionate cubes and rectangles. The various parts--the separate dwelling place, the tent, and the court--are all in exact numerical relation. The use of metals--gold, silver, and copper-- are carefully graded in terms of their proximity to the Holy of Holies. In the same way, the particular colors appear to bear some inner relation to their function, whether the white, blue, or crimson. There is likewise a gradation in the quality of the cloth used. Finally, much stress is placed on the proper position and orientation, with the easterly direction receiving the place of honor.
In addition, Childs highlighted how in the biblical account it is the Almighty who issues each one of the many directions for the construction of the Tabernacle. "Every detail of the structure reflects the one divine will and nothing rests on the ad hoc decision of human builders." Consequently, both Jewish and Christian scholars assumed that these details are rich in meaning, laden with significance. And this naturally led those interpreters to take a figurative, symbolic approach. In the post-Reformation period, Christian studies of the Tabernacle reveal a distinctive effort "to demonstrate the typology between the kingdom of God in the symbolism of the tabernacle and the church."
 Brevard S. Childs, The Book of Exodus: A Critical, Theological Commentary, The Old Testament Library (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1974), 537-50. I refer to this work as "monumental" because, with only a handful of possible exceptions--most notably Karl Barth's commentary on Paul's Letter to the Romans--very few twentieth-century commentaries on any book of the Bible made a greater impact than did Childs's work on Exodus. Much of its prominence stemmed from the author's construal of the task of commenting on a biblical text. At the outset, Childs revealed his intention to break new ground by reclaiming what was essentially old ground. Compared to "the majority of scholars with the field," he set out to present "a different understanding of the role of biblical interpretation." While the majority apparently considered historical-critical scholarship an end in itself--particularly investigations of the so-called depth dimensions of the text--Childs intended to use higher criticism as a means whose end was nothing short of what he often referred to as "the recovery of theological exegesis" (ix). This explains the subtitle he gave to his commentary.
 Ibid., 547.
 Ibid., 537-38
 Ibid., 540.
 Ibid., 548.