God instructed the Israelites at Mount Sinai to build a special tent or Tabernacle "where I will meet with you (Exodus 25:22)." It was also known as the House of the Lord and the Tent of Meeting.
The Tabernacle was constructed to be easily taken apart and transported. It stood at the center of the Israelites' camp in a large curtained enclosure. The altar and pans for the sacrifices stood in this open enclosure in front of the Tabernacle. There was also a bronze basin full of water where the priests washed their hands and feet before they entered the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle had two rooms separated by an embroidered veil. In the outer room there was an altar for burning incense, a lampstand holding seven lamps to give light, and a table on which 12 loaves of bread were placed each Sabbath.
The inner room, called the Holy of Holies or Most Holy Place, held the Ark of the Covenant in which two stone tablets of the Law were kept. Winged creatures covered in gold spread their wings over the lid which was called the Mercy Seat. God's presence appeared above the Mercy Seat in the form of a cloud (Leviticus 16:2).