Napsal(a) New Christian Bible Study Staff
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised quickly. Others, of course, lived in houses, generally made of stone and wood and quite permanent. In between the two were larger, more elaborate tent-style structures called tabernacles or dwellings; the tabernacle Moses built for the Ark of the Covenant is on this model.
To “dwell” somewhere, then, is significant – it’s much more than just visiting – but is less permanent than living there. And indeed, to dwell somewhere in the Bible represents entering that spiritual state and engaging it, but not necessary permanently.
A “dwelling,” meanwhile, represents the various loves that inspire the person who inhabits it, from the most evil – “those dwelling in the shadow of death” in Isaiah 9, for example – to the exalted state of the tabernacle itself, which was built as a dwelling-place for the Lord and represents heaven in all its details.