Monthly Archives: August 2013

EXODUS 31 – THE CALL OF BEZALEEL AND AHOLIAB

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EXODUS 31 – THE CALL OF BEZALEEL AND AHOLIAB

A. The unique gifts of Bezaleel and Aholiab.

1. (Exodus 31:1-6) The call of Bezaleel and Aholiab.

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in allmanner of workmanship. And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all who are gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you:

a. See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur: Even as God specifically chose Moses and Aaron, He also specifically chose these craftsmen for His service.

b. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship: God supernaturally enabled Bezalel to do the work of building the Tabernacle. God saw this work as just as spiritual, and just as dependent on the Holy Spirit’s power, as the work Moses and Aaron did.

i. This divine empowering wasn’t restricted only to Bezalel: I have put wisdom in the hearts of all who are gifted artisans. God wanted every worker’s labor to be blessed and prompted by the Holy Spirit.

ii. Yet, they were filled with the Holy Spirit not to work unto themselves, but unto the LORD:that they may make all that I have commanded you. God’s empowering isn’t to be used for our own selfish ends. Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men(Colossians 3:23).

2. (Exodus 31:7-11) The list of items to be built in the construction of the tabernacle and its furnishings.

“The tabernacle of meeting, the ark of the Testimony and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furniture of the tabernacle; the table and its utensils, the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base; the garments of ministry, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests, and the anointing oil and sweet incense for the holy place. According to all that I have commanded you they shall do.”

a. The tabernacle of meeting, the ark of the Testimony and the mercy seat that is on it . . .: The list seems to be given because God wanted the work organized and attentive to each detail. Nothing should be forgotten or neglected.

b. According to all that I have commanded you they shall do: This reminds us that God wanted the tabernacle and its furnishings built according to a specific pattern. It was a deliberate model of a heavenly reality.

B. The Sabbath.

1. (Exodus 31:12-17) The command to respect the Sabbath.

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, thatyou may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, forit is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does anywork on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’ “

a. Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep: This command was strategically placed – at the very end of all the commands to build the tabernacle. Though God gave Israel a work to do in building the tabernacle He did not want them to do that work on the Sabbath. The rest of God still had to be respected.

b. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever: Though in the New Covenant we are not bound by the Sabbath (Romans 14:5Colossians 2:16-17), the principle is still important. Our rest in the finished work of Jesus is never to be eclipsed by our work for God. When workers for God are burnt-out, they have almost always allowed their work for God to be bigger in their minds than His work for them.

i. The difference between what Jesus has done for us and what we do for Him is like the difference between the sun and the moon, and the sun is almost unbelievably larger than the moon. Yet if the moon is in the exactly right (or wrong) place, it is possible for the moon to eclipse the sun. Some Christians live in a constant state of total eclipse, allowing what they do for Jesus to seem more important than what Jesus did for them.

2. (Exodus 31:18) God gives Moses the tablets of stone, written with His finger.

And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

a. Tablets of stone, written with the finger of God: We often say that something can be changed because “it’s not written in stone.”

These commandments were written in stone.

b. Two tablets of the Testimony: These tablets of stone were placed in the Ark of the Testimony, also known as the Ark of the Covenant. They were kept in the ark, later joined by Aaron’s rod that budded and a jar of manna.

 

 

 


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EXODUS 30 – MORE TABERNACLE RELATED SUBJECTS

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EXODUS 30 – MORE TABERNACLE RELATED SUBJECTS

A. The altar of incense.

1. (Exodus 30:1-5) How to make the altar of incense.

“You shall make an altar to burn incense on; you shall make it of acacia wood. A cubit shall be its length and a cubit its width; it shall be square; and two cubits shall be its height. Its hornsshall be of one piece with it. And you shall overlay its top, its sides all around, and its horns with pure gold; and you shall make for it a molding of gold all around. Two gold rings you shall make for it, under the molding on both its sides. You shall place them on its two sides, and they will be holders for the poles with which to bear it. You shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.

a. Make an altar to burn incense on: The altar of incense was made of acacia wood overlaid with gold. It was 18 inches (0.5 meter) square and 3 feet (1 meter) high.

b. Two gold rings you shall make for it . . . they will be holders for the poles with which to bear it: The altar of incense was also carried by the system of rings and poles, just like the Ark of the Covenant, the table of showbread, and the brazen altar with its grate.

2. (Exodus 30:6-10) The use of the altar of incense.

“And you shall put it before the veil that is before the ark of the Testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the Testimony, where I will meet with you. Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. You shall not offer strange incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering; nor shall you pour a drink offering on it. And Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement; once a year he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD.”

a. You shall put it before the veil that is before the ark of the Testimony: The altar of incense stood outside the veil, in the holy place (not in the most holy place). Therefore it was fairly close to the Ark of the Covenant, yet separated by the veil.

b. Where I will meet with you: Sprinkled throughout this description of the tabernacle and the furnishings are reminders of the purpose of the tabernacle. It is a place for man to meet with God.

b. Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning: Aaron (and other priests after him) were instructed to burn incense on this altar every day as part of their normal priestly duties, both in the morning and in the evening (when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it).

i. Incense is a picture of prayer, in the sweetness of its smell and the way it ascends to heaven (golden bowls of incense, which are the prayers of the saints, according to Revelation 5:8). The ministry at the altar of incense speaks of how God’s people should continually come to Him in prayer.

ii. Revelation 8:3-4 describes the golden altar of incense standing before Gods’ throne: Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.

c. You shall not offer strange incense on it: Priests were not permitted to offer God whatever you wanted on the altar of incense. Strange incense was prohibited. Also, it was not a place of sacrifice in the sense that no animal or grain or drink offering was ever to be placed on it.

i. Prayer is not the place sacrificial atonement is made; it is the place sacrificial atonement is enjoyed. We don’t save ourselves through prayer; we pray because of Jesus’ saving work on the cross.

d. Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement: The altar of incense was not a place of sacrifice, but it was a place for atoning blood. On the Day of Atonement, Aaron had to anoint the horns of the altar of incense with blood from the atoning sacrifice.

i. Prayer does not atone for our sins, but must always be made in reference to Jesus’ atoning blood. The Day of Atonement was only once a year, but every day when the priests brought a morning and evening offering of incense they saw the blood stained horns of the altar. This was a constant reminder of the work of atoning blood.

B. The ransom money for a census.

1. (Exodus 30:11-12) The reason for the ransom money.

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them.

a. When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number: Later in the book of Numbers, two significant censuses are recorded of the nation of Israel. Here God made provision to make a census without being plagued.

b. That there may be no plague among them when you number them: A census put Israel at risk of plague because a census (a numbering) signified ownership. This spoke against God’s ownership of Israel, because in their thinking, a man only had the right to count or number what belonged to him. Israel didn’t belong to Israel; Israel belonged to God. It was up to Him to command a counting.

i. If a count was made with receiving the ransom money, a census communicated the idea that a king or a human leader “owned” Israel, when God alone did. This was David’s problem in 2 Samuel 24:1-25, when David took a census without the ransom money and God plagued Israel.

2. (Exodus 30:13-16) How to take a census with ransom money.

“This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half-shekel shall be an offering to the LORD. Everyone included among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the LORD. The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves. And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.”

a. Everyone included among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the LORD: The census was to include everyone aged twenty and over. This seems to be the Israelite age of full adulthood in this sense. Everyone also had to give an equal amount – one-half shekel.

i. This was a true “flat tax” – everybody paid the same amount, rich or poor. In this sense, it is not a pattern for our giving under the New Covenant. New Covenant giving should be proportional, under the principle that we should give in proportion to our blessing. (1 Corinthians 16:2)

ii. Instead of a pattern of our own giving, this money is a picture of the cost of our own redemption. “The rich were not to give more, the poor not to give less; to signify that all souls were equally precious in the sight of God, and that no difference of outward circumstances could affect the state of the soul; all had sinned, and all must be redeemed by the same price.” (Clarke)

iii. As well, everyone had to pay their own redemption money. No “lump sum” for every member of the tribe or family could pay it.

b. Appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting: This money was given to the service of the tabernacle. There was a great deal of silver needed in the construction of the tabernacle, and this is how it was obtained.

C. Other needs for the tabernacle.

1. (Exodus 30:17-21) The bronze laver.

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it, for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it. When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the LORD, they shall wash with water, lest they die. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them; to him and his descendants throughout their generations.”

a. Make a laver of bronze: The bronze laver had no specific dimensions. It was essentially a pool for ceremonial washings, set between the brazen altar and the tent of meeting.

b. Of bronze, with its base also of bronze: When it was made, the metal for the bronze laver came from the mirrors of the women of Israel (Exodus 38:8). It was a wonderful thing for people to give up the measure of their own appearance for God’s cleansing.

c. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die: The bronze laver speaks of the washing that is necessary for anyone who would come to God.

i. Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and pure heart. (Psalms 24:3-4)

ii. When Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, He told them: He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean (John 13:10). When we come to Jesus we are initially cleansed (1 Corinthians 6:11), but must also be continually washed from the dust and dirt of the world by having our feet washed by Jesus.

iii. An important way this washing takes place is through God’s Word: the washing of water by the word. (Ephesians 5:26)

2. (Exodus 30:22-33) The holy anointing oil.

Moreover the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Also take for yourself quality spices; five hundredshekels of liquid myrrh, half as much sweet-smelling cinnamon (two hundred and fifty shekels),two hundred and fifty shekels of sweet-smelling cane, five hundred shekels of cassia, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and a hin of olive oil. And you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil. With it you shall anoint the tabernacle of meeting and the ark of the Testimony; the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, and the altar of incense; the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base. You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy; whatever touches them must be holy. And you shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister to Me as priests. And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘This shall be a holy anointing oil to Me throughout your generations. It shall not be poured on man’s flesh; nor shall you make any other like it, according to its composition. It is holy, and it shall be holy to you. Whoever compounds any like it, or whoever puts any of it on an outsider, shall be cut off from his people.’ “

a. Make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer: This oil was used for anointing the priests and the articles pertaining to service. It was regarded as a sacred compound that could not be imitated nor used as normal perfuming oil.

b. It shall not be poured on man’s flesh: Since oil is emblematic of the Holy Spirit, we see that the Holy Spirit is not poured out to enhance our flesh, but to glorify Himself.

c. Nor shall you make any other like it . . . it is holy, and it shall be holy to you: This shows that the work of the Holy Spirit is never to be imitated. There is to be no place for encouraging a fleshly imitation of the gifts or operations of the Holy Spirit. To do this denies the holiness of the Holy Spirit, regarding His work as something we can do just as well on our own.

3. (Exodus 30:34-38) The holy incense.

And the LORD said to Moses: “Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices; there shall be equal amounts of each. You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. But as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition. It shall be to you holy for the LORD. Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people.”

a. Make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy: The special incense for the tabernacle was made according to the same principles as the anointing oil. God didn’t want this sacred smell – symbolizing the sweetness of prayer – to be used for human attraction or adornment.

b. Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from his people: God was so concerned to protect the unique character of the tabernacle incense that He commanded excommunication for anyone who would make these holy things common.

 

 

 


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EXODUS 29 – THE CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTS

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EXODUS 29 – THE CONSECRATION OF THE PRIESTS

A. Preparation for consecration.

1. (Exodus 29:1 a) The purpose of the ceremony.

And this is what you shall do to them to hallow them for ministering to Me as priests:

a. This is what you shall do: This ceremony was actually carried out in Leviticus 8:1-36.

b. To hallow them for ministering to Me as priests: The purpose of the ceremony was to hallow them – that is, to set the priests aside for God’s purpose.

2. (Exodus 29:1-3) Ingredients needed for consecration.

Take one young bull and two rams without blemish, and unleavened bread, unleavened cakes mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil (you shall make them of wheat flour). You shall put them in one basket and bring them in the basket, with the bull and the two rams.

a. One young bull and two rams without blemish: The ceremony for consecration required animals intended for sacrifice. Consecration couldn’t happen without shedding sacrificial blood.

b. Unleavened bread, unleavened cakes: The ceremony for consecration required bread for fellowship with God. Consecration couldn’t happen without true fellowship with God.

3. (Exodus 29:4) The washing.

And Aaron and his sons you shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall wash them with water.

a. Aaron and his sons: This was not a ceremony for just anyone in Israel. There were special consecration ceremonies available to anyone – such as the vow of a Nazirite in Numbers 6:1-27. But the ceremony described here and carried out in Leviticus 8:1-36 was for priests, for Aaron and his sons.

b. You shall bring to the door of the tabernacle of meeting: This process of consecration didn’t take place inside the tabernacle. It happened outside, at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. It was something others could see.

c. And you shall wash them with water: The process of consecration began with cleansing. All priestly ministries began with cleansing, and a cleansing that was received: you shall wash them. Aaron and his sons did not wash themselves; theyreceived a washing.

i. This was humbling, because it took place publicly at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. We cannot be cleansed from our sin without being humbled first.

ii. This great cleansing was a one-time thing. From then on they just needed to cleanse their hands and their feet.

iii. Like these ancient priests, every Christian is washed by the work of God’s word (Ephesians 5:26), by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). This cleansing work was accomplished by the death of Jesus for us (Revelation 1:5) and appropriated by faith.

4. (Exodus 29:5-9) The clothing and the anointing.

Then you shall take the garments, put the tunic on Aaron, and the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the intricately woven band of the ephod. You shall put the turban on his head, and put the holy crown on the turban. And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him. Then you shall bring his sons and put tunics on them. And you shall gird them with sashes, Aaron and his sons, and put the hats on them. The priesthood shall be theirs for a perpetual statute. So you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons.

a. Take the garments, put the tunic on Aaron: After being cleansed, the priest had to be clothed – but not in his own clothes, but in clothes given by God.

i. Like these ancient priests, every believer is clothed in Jesus Christ and in his righteousness (Revelation 3:5). These are clothes that are given freely by Jesus, but received and “worn” by faith.

ii. “Note, that these garments were provided for them. They were at no expense in buying them, nor labor in weaving them, nor skill in making them; they had simply to put them on. And you, dear child of God, are to put on the garments which Jesus Christ has provided for you, at his own cost, and freely bestows upon you out of boundless love.” (Spurgeon)

b. And you shall take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him: Priests must be anointed. The oil (a picture of the Holy Spirit) was poured over their heads, indicating that it was not in small measure (Psalms 133:2).

i. Like these ancient priests, every believer has an anointing (1 John 2:20) that they may receive and walk in by faith.

5. (Exodus 29:10-14) The sin offering.

You shall also have the bull brought before the tabernacle of meeting, and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the bull. Then you shall kill the bull before the LORD, by the door of the tabernacle of meeting. You shall take some of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour all the blood beside the base of the altar. And you shall take all the fat that covers the entrails, the fatty lobe attached to the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and burn them on the altar. But the flesh of the bull, with its skin and its offal, you shall burn with fire outside the camp. It is a sin offering.

a. Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the bull: The washing at the door of the tabernacle was only one aspect of the symbolic cleansing from sin. There had to be the punishment of the guilty, and this happened. As Aaron and his sons put their hands on the head of the bull, they symbolically transferred their sin to the bull.

i. “The Hebrew word means more than lightly placing the hand, it gives the idea of pressing hard upon the bullock’s head. They came each one and leaned upon the victim, loading him with their burden, signifying their acceptance of its substitution, their joy that the Lord would accept that victim in their stead. When they put their hands on the bullock, they made a confession of sin.” (Spurgeon)

ii. Like these ancient priests, every believer can only be consecrated to God through sacrifice. Our consecration should be greater, because it was made through a far greater sacrifice – the sacrifice of God’s own Son.

b. You shall take some of the blood of the bull and put it on the horns of the altar with your finger: The altar was sanctified with the blood of the sin offering, and the best of the animal was burnt before the LORD – the rest was destroyed outside the camp. The sin offering said, “We have failed to give our best to God. This animal now gives its best to atone for our failure, and we decide to live now giving our best, even as this animal who dies in our place.”

i. The idea behind the ancient Hebrew word for altar is essentially, “killing-place.” The ancient altar – a place of death – was made holy and was consecrated to God. Like that ancient altar, the altar of the New Covenant – the cross – is transformed from a place to death to a place set apart to bring life.

6. (Exodus 29:15-18) The burnt offering.

You shall also take one ram, and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the ram; and you shall kill the ram, and you shall take its blood and sprinkle it all around on the altar. Then you shall cut the ram in pieces, wash its entrails and its legs, and put them with its pieces and with its head. And you shall burn the whole ram on the altar. It is a burnt offering to the LORD it is a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the LORD.

a. Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the ram; and you shall kill the ram: As the sin offering before it, the burnt offering also symbolically received the sins of the priests and they laid their hands on the head of the animal and confessed their sin.

b. And you shall burn the whole ram on the altar: The ram was completely burnt before the LORD, with its blood sprinkled on the altar. The burnt offering said, “We have failed to give our all to God. This animal now gives its all to atone for our failure, and we decide to live now giving our all, even as this animal who dies in our place.”

B. The consecration offering.

1. (Exodus 29:19-21) The application of blood.

You shall also take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the ram. Then you shall kill the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron and on the tip of the right ear of his sons, on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood all around on the altar. And you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments, on his sons and on the garments of his sons with him; and he and his garments shall be hallowed, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.

a. Also take the other ram, and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the ram: Atonement for sin was performed with the sin offering and the burnt offering. Yet in their consecration, the priests still had to identify with the sacrificial victim. Their identification with the sacrifice went beyond atonement.

b. Kill the ram, and take some of its blood and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron: To express the idea of consecration, blood from the ram is placed on the ear, thumb, and toe of the priest. It was blood from the ram – not the wool, not the fat. God wanted the “life” of the sacrificial victim to mark His consecrated priests.

i. Leviticus 17:11 is one of many passages that expresses this principle: For the life of the flesh is in the blood. God wanted the life of the sacrificial victim to be evident in the body of the priest.

c. Tip of the right ear . . . thumb of their right hand . . . big toe of their right foot: These consecrated priests were stained with the blood of sacrifice. They should heardifferently because the blood was on their ear. They should work differently because the blood was on their thumb. They should walk differently because the blood was on theirtoe.

i. Specifically, it was applied to the right ear, hand, and foot. This isn’t because God felt they could do whatever they wanted to with their left ear, hand, and foot. It is because the right side was considered superior, with more strength and skill (because most people are right-handed). God wanted their best to be dedicated to Him.

d. You shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his garments: The blood alone wasn’t enough. God wanted blood mixed with oil, and to have the mixture sprinkled on the priests. There was to be a combination of both the sacrifice and the spirit (represented by theanointing oil).

i. “Yes, brethren, we need to know that double anointing, the blood of Jesus which cleanses, and the oil of the Holy Spirit which perfumes us. It is well to see how these two blend in one . . . It is a terrible blunder to set the blood and the oil in opposition, they must always go together.” (Spurgeon)

2. (Exodus 29:22-28) The wave offering.

Also you shall take the fat of the ram, the fat tail, the fat that covers the entrails, the fatty lobeattached to the liver, the two kidneys and the fat on them, the right thigh (for it is a ram of consecration), one loaf of bread, one cake made with oil, and one wafer from the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the LORD and you shall put all these in the hands of Aaron and in the hands of his sons, and you shall wave them as a wave offering before the LORD. You shall receive them back from their hands and burn them on the altar as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma before the LORD. It is an offering made by fire to the LORD. Then you shall take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s consecration and wave it as a wave offering before the LORD and it shall be your portion. And from the ram of the consecration you shall consecrate the breast of the wave offering which is waved, and the thigh of the heave offering which is raised, of that which isfor Aaron and of that which is for his sons. It shall be from the children of Israel for Aaron and his sons by a statute forever. For it is a heave offering; it shall be a heave offering from the children of Israel from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, that is, their heave offering to the LORD.

a. Also you shall take the fat of the ram: The second ram used in the consecration ceremony – the ram whose blood was applied to the ear, hand, and foot of the priest – was used as a heave offering and peace offerings.

b. You shall wave them before the LORD . . . burn them on the altar as a burnt offering: Part of this second ram – the best parts – was put together with the bread,cake, and the wafer and was first waved before God in an act of presentation. Then these portions were burnt on the altar as an act of complete devotion.

c. It shall be your portion: The remaining meat portions of this ram were given to Aaron and the other priests, after those portions were presented to God as a wave offering. It was then cooked and eaten by the priests during the days of their consecration ceremony.

i. The second ram – after the ram presented as a burnt offering – had its lifeapplied to the consecrated priests. First its life was applied with the application of blood to the ear, hand, and foot of the priest. Then through a ritual meal, its life was applied by the priest taking the ram into himself.

ii. The eating did not begin the process of consecration. It came after the washing, the clothing, and the blood-atonement of the priests. The eating speaks of the continuing relationship of the priest with God. “Let not this distinction be forgotten; the eating of the sacrifice is not intended to give life, for no dead man can eat, but to sustain the life which is there already. A believing look at Christ makes you live, but spiritual life must be fed and sustained.” (Spurgeon)

iii. In this way, eating is a good picture of a healthy, continuing relationship with Jesus.

· Eating is personal. No one can eat for you, and no one can have a relationship with Jesus on your behalf.

· Eating is inward. It does no good to be around food or to rub food on the outside of your body – you must take it in. We must take Jesus unto ourselves inwardly, not merely in an external way.

· Eating is active. Some medicines are received passively – they are injected under the skin and go to work. Such medicines could even be received while one sleeps – but no one can eat while asleep. We mustactively take Jesus unto ourselves.

· Eating arises out of a sense of need and produces a sense of satisfaction. We will have a healthy relationship with Jesus when we sense our needfor Him and receive the satisfaction the relationship brings.

3. (Exodus 29:29-37) The week of consecration.

And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons’ after him, to be anointed in them and to be consecrated in them. That son who becomes priest in his place shall put them on for seven days, when he enters the tabernacle of meeting to minister in the holy place. And you shall take the ram of the consecration and boil its flesh in the holy place. Then Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of meeting. They shall eat those things with which the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them; but an outsider shall not eat them, because they are holy. And if any of the flesh of the consecration offerings, or of the bread, remains until the morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire. It shall not be eaten, because it is holy. Thus you shall do to Aaron and his sons, according to all that I have commanded you. Seven days you shall consecrate them. And you shall offer a bull every day as a sin offering for atonement. You shall cleanse the altar when you make atonement for it, and you shall anoint it to sanctify it. Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and sanctify it. And the altar shall be most holy. Whatever touches the altar must be holy.

a. That son who becomes priest in his place shall put them on for seven days: With the coming generations, new descendants of Aaron would qualify for the priesthood and would be consecrated the same way. For Aaron and his descendants the consecration process took seven days.

b. They shall eat those things with which the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: For seven days they lived at the tabernacle and ate the ram of the consecration and the bread of consecration. The consecration ceremony wasn’t quick and easy. It took time, reflection, and a constant awareness of sacrifice and atonement.

i. “The Lord’s part was consumed with fire upon the altar, and another portion was eaten by man in the holy place. The peace offering was thus an open declaration of the communion which had been established between God and man, so that they ate together, rejoicing in the same offering.” (Spurgeon)

ii. “I know some good people who are very busy indeed in the services of God, and I am very delighted that they should be, but I would caution them against working and never eating. They give up attending the means of grace as hearers, because they have so much to do as workers.” (Spurgeon)

c. But an outsider shall not eat them, because they are holy: Few among us today are of the lineage of Aaron, but we have the right to receive and enjoy this priestly consecration and relationship based not only on the clear declaration of the New Testament (1 Peter 2:5; 1Pe_2:9) but also upon principles of the Old Covenant.

i. Leviticus 22:11 says, But if the priest buys a person with his money, he may eat it; and one who is born in his house may eat his food. Since Jesus, our High Priest, has purchased us with His own life, we may eat of the priestly portion. And since we are born again as children of God – born in his house, the family of our High Priest – we also may eat his food and enjoy the priestly privileges of our High Priest.

d. And you shall offer a bull every day as a sin offering for atonement: Every day there was another large animal to sacrifice and use its blood for atonement. This daily ritual – for seven days in a row – reminded Aaron and the priests that any animal sacrifice could not take away sin, only providing a temporary covering.

4. (Exodus 29:38-41) The continual consecration.

Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs of the first year, day by day continually. One lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. With the one lamb shall be one-tenth of an ephah of flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of pressed oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine as a drink offering. And the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; and you shall offer with it the grain offering and the drink offering, as in the morning, for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the LORD.

a. Two lambs . . . day by day continually: After the ceremony of consecration the priests continued with daily sacrifices, one in the morning and the other at twilight. Every day was given to God, beginning and ending by sacrifices of atonement and consecration.

b. A drink offering: This was wine given to God as a sacrifice, “poured out” before Him as a demonstration of completely emptying one’s self to God.

i. The Apostle Paul used the terminology of the drink offering to express his complete devotion to God, and his possibly soon martyrdom (Philippians 2:17).

c. For a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the LORD: These burnt offerings – completely consumed by fire – pleased God and “smelled good” to Him. God is honored and glorified by our complete surrender to Him.

5. (Exodus 29:42-43) Why God wanted the daily sacrifices and continual consecration.

This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet you to speak with you. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory.

a. This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations: Except for times of captivity and national apostasy, these daily sacrifices continued in Israel up through the time of the New Testament. Luke 1:1-80 describes Zacharias (the father of John the Baptist) ministering at a morning sacrifice, which developed into what we might call “morning devotions” for ancient Israel.

b. I will meet you: God wanted consecrated priests and a worshipping nation, and not because He simply wanted a “well-trained work-force.” God wanted consecrated priests and daily sacrifice so He could meet with and speak to His people.

i. This is the great reason for consecration, for full surrender to God. It isn’t primarily so we can be better workers for God, but so that we can enjoy deeper and more meaningful relationship with Him. If this is of little interest to us, we will never be properly motivated to true consecration.

c. And the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory: It was the presence of God that truly sanctified and consecrated the tabernacle and the priests. It wasn’t primarily because of what the priests did. What the priests did in consecrate was remove the barriers to the radiant glory of God.

6. (Exodus 29:44-46) So I will sanctify.

So I will consecrate the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. I will also consecrate both Aaron and his sons to minister to Me as priests. I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.

a. So I will consecrate: God makes it clear who performs the work of consecration. We are tempted to think that we sanctify our self because we are so immersed in the sanctifying process and because it draws so much out of us. Yet God does the work – what we do is remove barriers and spend time with the focus on Him.

b. To minister to Me as priests: Aaron and his sons had a ministry to the people of Israel, but their first ministry was to the LORD. They might be successful in ministry to the people, but if they failed in their ministry to the LORD, their ministry failed.

i. “The best part of all Christian work is that part which only God sees.” (Andrew Bonar)

c. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God: God promised to show His glory through consecrated priests. When Moses and Aaron performed this ceremony of consecration, Leviticus 9:23-24 tells us the result: Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

i. There is a price to pay for being fully surrendered to God. The ceremony of consecration was long, bloody, and it took persistence to complete. Yet the reward was far greater than the cost – the glory of the LORD was revealed not only to the consecrated priests, but to the people in general.

d. I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God: God again stressed the idea of relationship in the process of consecration. This worship-filled relationship with God is both the instrument and the fruit of consecration.

 

 

 

 

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EXODUS 28 – GARMENTS FOR PRIESTS

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EXODUS 28 – GARMENTS FOR PRIESTS

A. The command to make garments for the priests.

1. (Exodus 28:1-2) The purpose of the garments.

“Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron’s sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.

a. Take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him: The priesthood of Israel was not “earned” nor aspired to. It could only be inherited by birthright. One must be born into a priestly family.

i. The priesthood was no place for ambition or self-glory. It was only entered into by God’s call and invitation. In the New Covenant, our priesthood is also not earned nor aspired to. We are priests because of our new birth into Jesus’ priestly family (1 Peter 2:5).

b. Make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty: The priestly garments were made for glory and for beauty. Since there was something glorious and beautiful – indeed, “heavenly” about the priestly service, it was appropriate to make the garments glorious and beautiful.

i. “Is then the dismal black, now worn by almost all kinds of priests and ministers, for glory and for beauty? Is it emblematic of any thing that is good, glorious, or excellent? How unbecoming the glad tidings announced by Christian ministers is a colour emblematical of nothing but mourning and woe, sin, desolation,and death!” (Clarke)

2. (Exodus 28:3-4) What to make and who must make it.

“So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest. And these are the garments which they shall make: a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a skillfully woven tunic, a turban, and a sash. So they shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother and his sons, that he may minister to Me as priest.

a. Speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments: God promised a special gifting from the Holy Spirit given to the craftsmen of these garments.

i. If it is really done to the glory of God, practical, manual service requires the leading of the Holy Spirit just as much as what we normally consider to be “spiritual” service.

b. That he may minister to Me: Three times in these first four verses, this command is repeated. Priests – under the old or new covenants – have their first ministry to God Himself.

B. Garments for the High Priest.

1. (Exodus 28:5-14) The ephod.

“They shall take the gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and they shall make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, artistically worked. It shall have two shoulder straps joined at its two edges, and so it shall be joined together. And the intricately woven band of the ephod, which is on it, shall be of the same workmanship, made ofgold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. Then you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: six of their names on one stone, and six names on the other stone, in order of their birth. With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, you shall engrave the two stones with the names of the sons of Israel. You shall set them in settings of gold. And you shall put the two stones on the shoulders of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. So Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders as a memorial. You shall also make settings of gold, and you shall make two chains of pure gold like braided cords, and fasten the braided chains to the settings.

a. Make the ephod of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, artistically worked: The ephod was essentially an ornate apron-like garment, made of gold, blue, purple and scarlet thread.

b. Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: On the shoulder straps were polished gemstones on each strap, with the inscription of six of the tribes on each stone, so the High Priest would bear their names before the LORD on his two shoulders as a memorial.

i. While the first ministry of a priest is always unto God Himself, a priest also is constantly connected to the people, bearing them on his shoulders. The shoulders are a place of work; therefore in the priest’s ministry unto the LORD, he also worked for and with the people.

2. (Exodus 28:15-30) The breastplate.

“You shall make the breastplate of judgment. Artistically woven according to the workmanship of the ephod you shall make it: of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, you shall make it. It shall be doubled into a square: a span shall be its length, and a span shall be its width. And you shall put settings of stones in it, four rows of stones: The first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; this shall be the first row; the second row shall be a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond; the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold settings. And the stones shall have the names of the sons of Israel, twelve according to their names, like the engravings of a signet, each one with its own name; they shall be according to the twelve tribes. You shall make chains for the breastplate at the end, like braided cords of pure gold. And you shall make two rings of gold for the breastplate, and put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate. Then you shall put the two braided chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate; and the other two ends of the two braided chains you shall fasten to the two settings, and put them on the shoulder straps of the ephod in the front. You shall make two rings of gold, and put them on the two ends of the breastplate, on the edge of it, which is on the inner side of the ephod. And two other rings of gold you shall make, and put them on the two shoulder straps, underneath the ephod toward its front, right at the seam above the intricately woven band of the ephod. They shall bind the breastplate by means of its rings to the rings of the ephod, using a blue cord, so that it is above the intricately woven band of the ephod, and so that the breastplate does not come loose from the ephod. So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel on the breastplate of judgment over his heart, when he goes into the holy place, as a memorial before the LORD continually. And you shall put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim, and they shall be over Aaron’s heart when he goes in before the LORD. So Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel over his heart before the LORD continually.”

a. Make the breastplate of judgment: The breastplate was also made with gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread. It was attached to the ephod with gold chains.

b. Put settings of stones in it, four rows of stones: On the breastplate were four rows of three gemstones, each stone having one of the names of the twelve tribes inscribed on it. In wearing the breastplate, the High Priest would bear the names of the sons of Israel . . . over his heart.

i. It was not enough that the High Priest work for the people (having them on his shoulders). He must also love the people – that is, bear them on his heart.

ii. It isn’t enough for a priest to have a heart for God. He must also have a heart for the people, and bear them on his heart in his entire ministry unto the LORD.

c. A sardius, a topaz, and an emerald: This begins a list of twelve gemstones set in the breastplate of the high priest. It is impossible to know exactly what all of these gemstones were; but we can come to some likely conclusions. Revelation 21:19-20describes the foundations of the walls of the New Jerusalem with a series of twelve gemstones, which may answer to these stones in the breastplate.

i. We cannot neglect the fact God commanded the tribes to have their names inscribed on gemstones – truly precious things. God’s people are indeed precious to Him.

d. Put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim: Three times in this passage the breastplate is called the breastplate of judgment because it held theUrim and Thummim which were tools for discerning God’s will.

i. The use of the discerning tools of Urim and Thummim is described on a few occasions (Numbers 27:211 Samuel 28:6Ezra 2:63, and Nehemiah 7:65) and their use may be implied in other passages (Judges 1:1; Jdg_20:18; Jdg_20:23).

ii. The names Urim and Thummim mean “Lights and Perfections.” We aren’t sure what they were or how they were used. The best guess is that they were a pair of stones, one light and another dark, and each stone indicated a “yes” or “no” from God. The High Priest would ask God a question, reach into the breastplate, and pull our either a “yes” or a “no.”

iii. Meyer suggests the Urim and Thummim were brilliant diamonds, which flashed with a “yes” or dim with a “no” answer from God.

iv. Many consider the Urim and Thummim as crude tools of discernment. In fact, they are better than the tools many Christians use today. It would be better to use the Urim and Thummim than rely on feelings, or outward appearances, or to simply use no discernment!

3. (Exodus 28:31-35) The robe.

“You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. There shall be an opening for his head in the middle of it; it shall have a woven binding all around its opening, like the opening in a coat of mail, so that it does not tear. And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around. And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he goes into the holy placebefore the LORD and when he comes out, that he may not die.”

a. Make the robe of the ephod all of blue: This was the basic covering of the priest, made of all blue, and seamless and untorn for the head opening.

b. Bells of gold between them all around: On its hem, between the ornatepomegranates of blue and purple, were bells, so the priest could be heard while ministering before God – if he were to die, the bells would stop ringing and he could be pulled out of the Most Holy Place.

4. (Exodus 28:36-38) The turban and its engraving.

“You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.”

a. It shall be on the front of the turban: The turban was a simple wound linen headpiece. More important than the turban itself was the gold plate with the inscriptionHOLINESS TO THE LORD.

b. That Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts: Even the gifts and sacrifices Aaron and the other priests brought before the Lord were touched with iniquity. Yet when God’s appointed priest in God brought them in God’s appointed way, God accepted them.

c. That they might be accepted before the LORD: Holiness – not as a legalistic list of rules, but in the power of a life separated to God – is essential for anyone who will appear before God. Hebrews 12:14 reinforces this principle: Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

5. (Exodus 28:39) The tunic, the turban, and the sash.

“You shall skillfully weave the tunic of fine linen thread, you shall make the turban of fine linen, and you shall make the sash of woven work.”

a. Skillfully weave the tunic of fine linen: These basic garments are simply described as being woven of fine linen.

6. (Exodus 28:40-43) Garments for the sons of Aaron.

“For Aaron’s sons you shall make tunics, and you shall make sashes for them. And you shall make hats for them, for glory and beauty. So you shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him. You shall anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister to Me as priests. And you shall make for them linen trousers to cover their nakedness; they shall reach from the waist to the thighs. They shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they come into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister in the holyplace, that they do not incur iniquity and die. It shall be a statute forever to him and his descendants after him.”

a. For Aaron’s sons you shall make tunics: Though the “regular” priests had special garments, they were simple clothes of fine linen. They were special, but not much compared to the glory and beauty of the High Priest’s garments.

i. This is because the “regular” priests, though important, had a far lesser office than the High Priest – and were appropriately clothed for this lower position.

ii. Even so, the High Priest’s clothing, in total, speaks more of Jesus’ glory and beauty than of ours. We are content with simple linen robes.

b. Linen trousers to cover their nakedness: The priests – all of the priests – were to wear undergarments, so it would be impossible for their nakedness to be exposed while ministering.

i. This was probably a reaction to the nakedness of many pagan priests while performing their rituals.

ii. Also, the trousers were to be made of cool linen, instead of warm wool. God doesn’t want His servants to sweat.

C. A Contrast between Jesus’ clothing when He accomplished His great priestly work and the garments of the High Priest.

1. Jesus wore no beautiful ephod – only a purple robe for mocking.

2. Jesus had no precious gems were on His shoulders, only a cross that we deserved.

3. Jesus had no breastplate with “Israel on His heart,” yet He died of a broken heart for Israel – and all of mankind.

4. As the High Priest, Jesus had a seamless robe that was not torn, but it was stripped away at the cross.

5. Jesus heard no delicate sound of bells proving that the High Priest was alive, only the sound of pounding nails insuring our High Priest’s death.

6. Jesus wore no fine linen turban, rather a painful crown of thorns.

7. Jesus had no headplate reading HOLINESS TO THE LORD, but a life and death showing nothing but holiness to the LORD!

8. Jesus had no linen trousers to hide His nakedness, rather He bore our sins on the cross in a naked shame.

 

 

 


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EXODUS 27 – THE COURT OF THE TABERNACLE

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EXODUS 27 – THE COURT OF THE TABERNACLE

A. The altar of burnt offering.

1. (Exodus 27:1-2) The basic structure of the bronze altar.

“You shall make an altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square; and its height shall bethree cubits. You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it. And you shall overlay it with bronze.

a. You shall make an altar: The idea behind the Hebrew word for altar is essentially, “killing-place.” We also have an altar: We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat (Hebrews 13:10). Our altar – our “killing-place” – is the cross, where Jesus died for our sins and we follow by dying unto self and living for Jesus.

i. We lay down our lives on that same altar: I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. . . . But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 2:20 and Galatians 6:14)

b. Make an altar of acacia wood . . . overlay it with bronze: The altar was a box-like structure and because of its overlay of bronze it could survive high temperatures. The altar was 7 feet 6 inches (2.5 meters) square, and 4 feet 6 inches (1.5 meters) high.

i. For years, the sides of this altar were smooth and shiny bronze. But Numbers 16:1-50describes the rebellion of Korah, who challenged the leadership of Moses: You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy . . . Why then do you exalt yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? (Numbers 16:3). In confirming the leadership of Moses, God judged Korah and his followers, and caused the ground to split and swallow up all the rebels of Korah. The LORD then commanded the priests to take the bronze incense-censers held by Korah and his followers, to hammer them flat, and to cover the altar of burnt offering with them, to be a memorial to the children of Israel (Numbers 16:40).

ii. From then on, every time someone came to the altar of burnt offering, they noticed the rough, hammered finish of the bronze – and were reminded of Korah’s rebellion and God’s judgment against him and those who followed him.

c. Make its horns on its four corners: There were to be horns on the altar, so the altar would “reach out” to all directions. In sacrifice, atoning blood was applied to each horn.

2. (Exodus 27:3-8) Accessories for the altar.

“Also you shall make its pans to receive its ashes, and its shovels and its basins and its forks and its firepans; you shall make all its utensils of bronze. You shall make a grate for it, a network of bronze; and on the network you shall make four bronze rings at its four corners. You shall put it under the rim of the altar beneath, that the network may be midway up the altar. And you shall make poles for the altar, poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with bronze. The poles shall be put in the rings, and the poles shall be on the two sides of the altar to bear it. You shall make it hollow with boards; as it was shown you on the mountain, so shall they make it.

a. Make its pans to receive its ashes, and its shovels and its basins and its forks and its firepans: These utensils were used in the preparation of the offerings and the maintenance of the altar. Each was specially made for the tabernacle out of bronze and each was set-aside for the work of the tabernacle.

b. Make a grate for it, a network of bronze: The grate provided a floor for the altar so the ashes and burnt remains fell down through the network of bronze. The grate also had the rings and the poles with which the altar was carried.

B. The courtyard and the gate.

1. (Exodus 27:9-15) The hangings for the perimeter of the courtyard.

“You shall also make the court of the tabernacle. For the south side there shall be hangings for the court made of fine woven linen, one hundred cubits long for one side. And its twenty pillars and their twenty sockets shall be bronze. The hooks of the pillars and their bands shall be silver. Likewise along the length of the north side there shall be hangings one hundred cubits long, with its twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of bronze, and the hooks of the pillars and their bands of silver. And along the width of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits, with their ten pillars and their ten sockets. The width of the court on the east side shall be fifty cubits. The hangings on one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and their three sockets. And on the other side shall be hangings of fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and their three sockets.

a. Also make the court of the tabernacle: The courtyard was marked off by a fine linen fence, white in color. It provided an area of 150 feet (50 meters) by 75 feet (25 meters).

b. Its twenty pillars and their twenty sockets shall be bronze: The short linen “fence” surrounding the courtyard was held up by a system of bronze pillars, twenty on the long sides and ten pillars on the short side of the rectangular-shaped court, with three pillars on the side with the entrance to the tabernacle.

i. Exodus 27:18 tells us that the pillars were 7.5 feet (2.5 meters) high. Each had a bronze base and silver top piece, and a silver hook for hanging the linen upon.

2. (Exodus 27:16) The gate to the courtyard.

“For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver. It shall have four pillars and four sockets.

a. For the gate of the court: The gate was on the east side, the same side as the gate to the tent of the tabernacle. It was woven from the four colors used for the weavings of the tabernacle: blue and purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen thread.

b. A screen twenty cubits long: Though there was only one gate to the courtyard, it was large – 30 feet (10 meters) wide. This was the only entrance to the court of the tent of meeting.

3. (Exodus 27:17-19) Other details regarding the courtyard.

“All the pillars around the court shall have bands of silver; their hooks shall be of silver and their sockets of bronze. The length of the court shall be one hundred cubits, the width fifty throughout, and the height five cubits, made of fine woven linen, and its sockets of bronze. All the utensils of the tabernacle for all its service, all its pegs, and all the pegs of the court, shall be of bronze.

a. All the pillars around the court shall have bands of silver: Each pillar had a top of silver, making it shiny and visible from afar in the bright desert. Each pillar also had asocket of bronze, or a base of bronze. Refining through the fire makes bronze.

i. Silver (a metal illustrating redemption) was the foundation for the tent of meeting. It was also the top – the most visible part – of the pillars surrounding the courtyard. But the courtyard fence hung on a foundation of refined bronze – the judgment Jesus took in our place.

b. The pegs of the court: These helped anchor down the flaps of the tabernacle and the gates, and were made of bronze.

c. The court of the tabernacle or the temple is an important theme throughout the rest of the Old Testament. This is mainly because the temple itself was inaccessible except to a few priests. All others in Israel met God in the court. We can say by application that God also invites us to come into His courts to praise Him.

· Blessed is the man You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple. (Psalms 65:4)

· My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. (Psalms 84:2)

· For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. (Psalms 84:10)

· Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. (Psalms 92:13)

· Give to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts. (Psalms 96:8)

· Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (Psalms 100:4)

· I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD now in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD! (Psalms 116:17-19)

· Praise the LORD! Praise the name of the LORD praise Him, O you servants of the LORD! You who stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God. (Psalms 135:1-2)

i. Under the New Covenant we appreciate this longing for the court of God’s house, but we don’t need to stop there.

We can come – not only to the courts, but also right on into the holy presence of God. We thank God for the right to come into his courts, but we don’t have to stop there.

d. In overview, in coming to the tabernacle, one saw a white linen fence, with shiny spots of silver on the posts holding up the fence, surrounded by thousands of black tents, with the pillar of cloud over a unassuming tent in the midst of the courtyard covered with badger’s skin.

i. The entire tabernacle was a tent – a moveable structure. God wanted Israel to know He was with them wherever they went. It wasn’t a case of “You come to Me,” but the idea was “I have come to You”.

ii. “The Hebrews were meant to feel that the God of their fathers was a fellow-pilgrim, that where they pitched He pitched, that their enemies, difficulties, and long toilsome marches were His.” (Meyer)

4. (Exodus 27:20-21) The oil for the lamps on the lampstand.

“And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.

a. That they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light: The oil for the lamps on the lampstand – the only light in the tabernacle – came from pressed olives, not beaten olives. We, like Paul, may be hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed(2 Corinthians 4:8) – and God uses our times of pressing for His glory.

b. Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning: The priests were totend the lamps, making sure that the lamps had oil to burn and that their wicks were trimmed, so that the lamps would never go out – especially during the night.

i. God never wanted the lamps to lose their fire. Only by a continual supply of oil and trimming of the wicks could keep them burning. We can only continue to be on fire for God if we are continually supplied with the oil of the Holy Spirit, and are “trimmed” by God to bear more light.

ii. In dark days there is all the more reason to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to be “trimmed wicks” for the LORD. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8).

 

 

 


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EXODUS 26 – COVERINGS AND CURTAINS FOR THE TABERNACLE

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EXODUS 26 – COVERINGS AND CURTAINS FOR THE TABERNACLE

A. Four sets of curtains for the tent itself.

1. (Exodus 26:1-6) The fine linen curtain.

“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains offine woven linen and blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them. The length of each curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits. And every one of the curtains shall have the same measurements. Five curtains shall be coupled to one another, and the other five curtains shall be coupled to one another. And you shall make loops of blue yarn on the edge of the curtain on the selvedge of one set, and likewise you shall do on the outer edge of the other curtain of the second set. Fifty loops you shall make in the one curtain, and fifty loops you shall make on the edge of the curtain that is on the end of the second set, that the loops may be clasped to one another. And you shall make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains together with the clasps, so that it may be one tabernacle.

a. Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine woven linen: The tabernacle was a tent with a frame and a series of elaborate coverings. This section describes the first covering, the one seen from the interior of the tabernacle.

i. The plans for the tabernacle were revealed to Moses from the inside out, starting with the interior furniture and then working out. We approach the sanctuary from the outside in, but God builds the sanctuary from the inside out. He works in His people according to the same pattern.

b. Fine woven linen . . . with artistic designs of cherubim: The designs on this covering were visible only from the inside of the tabernacle. Therefore, on the inside of the tabernacle, one saw cherubim all around – as one would see in heaven (Psalms 80:1Isaiah 37:16, and Ezekiel 10:3).

c. Five curtains shall be coupled: The fine linen curtain was made by sewing together five curtains, each one 42 feet (14 meters) long and 6 feet (2 meters) wide. They were first joined in sets of five, and then joined together for a covering 42 feet (14 meters) by 60 feet (20 meters).

d. Make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains together with the clasps: The sets of five curtains were not to be sewn to each other, but joined by a system of loops on the fabric and gold clasps to link the loops from one set of five curtains to the other set of five curtains.

e. So that it may be one tabernacle: The spiritual principle illustrated with this method of joining the curtains is unity in diversity. It is the same idea of Romans 12:5 : we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

2. (Exodus 26:7-13) The curtain made of goats’ hair.

“You shall also make curtains of goats’ hair, to be a tent over the tabernacle. You shall make eleven curtains. The length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; and the eleven curtains shall all have the same measurements. And you shall couple five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves, and you shall double over the sixth curtain at the forefront of the tent. You shall make fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that is outermost in one set, and fifty loops on the edge of the curtain of the second set. And you shall make fifty bronze clasps, put the clasps into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one. The remnant that remains of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remains, shall hang over the back of the tabernacle. And a cubit on one side and a cubit on the other side, of what remains of the length of the curtains of the tent, shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle, on this side and on that side, to cover it.

a. Make curtains of goats’ hair: The second covering was made of goats’ hair, producing a fabric dark, thick, and coarse – somewhat like felt. This covering was made by joining together five and six strips of fabric with each strip being 45 feet (15 meters) long and 6 feet (2 meters) wide.

b. Couple the tent together, that it may be one: The set of five strips and the set of six strips were joined together with a series of loops and bronze clasps. The inner covering or curtain used gold clasps, but this second covering used bronze.

c. The remnant that remains . . . shall hang over the back of the tabernacle: Since the goats’ hair layer was six feet (2 meters) longer than the fine linen layer, the extra six feet covered over the back portion of the tent.

d. A cubit on one side, and a cubit on the other side: Since the goats’ hair covering was wider by 3 feet (2 meters), this layer completely covered over the fine linen layer.

i. Therefore, the fine linen layer – the “heavenly” set of coverings – was completely obscured and overlapped by the dark covering of goats’ hair. It was not open to observation, even in part. Heaven remained hidden to all except those who enter in through the door of the tabernacle.

3. (Exodus 26:14) Two sets of coverings: ram skin dyed red, and badger skin.

“You shall also make a covering of ram skins dyed red for the tent, and a covering of badger skins above that.

a. You shall also make a covering of ram skins: The covering of ram skins was like fine leather dyed red. No specific size or arrangement is mentioned for the assembling of this covering.

b. A covering of badger skins above that: The outer covering of badger skins (or, perhaps porpoise or sea-cow skins) was a durable and water resistant outer covering. It wasn’t particularly beautiful to look at, but it was extremely comfortable.

i. When these four layers of curtains were laid on one another, the result was very dry and very dark tent. The only light came from the lampstand described in the previous chapter.

B. The framing system for the tabernacle.

1. (Exodus 26:15-25) Boards for the sides of the tent.

“And for the tabernacle you shall make the boards of acacia wood, standing upright. Ten cubitsshall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall be the width of each board. Two tenonsshall be in each board for binding one to another. Thus you shall make for all the boards of the tabernacle. And you shall make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards for the south side. You shall make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards: two sockets under each of the boards for its two tenons. And for the second side of the tabernacle, the north side, there shall betwenty boards and their forty sockets of silver: two sockets under each of the boards. For the far side of the tabernacle, westward, you shall make six boards. And you shall also make two boards for the two back corners of the tabernacle. They shall be coupled together at the bottom and they shall be coupled together at the top by one ring. Thus it shall be for both of them. They shall be for the two corners. So there shall be eight boards with their sockets of silver; sixteen sockets; two sockets under each board.

a. For the tabernacle you shall make the boards of acacia wood: Each board was made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. Each board was 15 feet (5 meters) high and 2 feet 3 inches (about .75 meter) wide.

b. Twenty boards for the south side: The north and south sides of the tabernacle had 20 boards each. The back (westward) side was six boards wide with two corner boards, for a total of eight boards across the back.

c. Coupled together at the top by one ring: Each board was joined together by a system of tenons (tabs) with rings, through which ran bars. Each board had four rings through which the bars ran, and the corner boards had eight rings, four on two sides to accommodate the corners.

d. So there shall be eight boards with their sockets of silver; sixteen sockets: Each board rested on two sockets of silver, each socket made with one talent of silver. Therefore each board rested on a base of 264 pounds (120 kilos) of silver.

i. Silver is the metal associated with redemption and payment for sin (Exodus 21:32Leviticus 5:15; Lev_27:3; Lev_27:6Numbers 18:16, and Deuteronomy 22:19). Jesus was betrayed for silver (Matthew 26:15). The tabernacle’s foundation was silver – pointing to the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.

ii. Perhaps the dual nature of the foundation had to do with the two sources of revelation – the Old and New Testaments.

iii. The silver of redemption also separated the tabernacle from the dirt of the desert floor. Jesus’ redeeming work separates us from the world.

2. (Exodus 26:26-30) Bars to join together the boards.

“And you shall make bars of acacia wood: five for the boards on one side of the tabernacle, five bars for the boards on the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of the tabernacle, for the far side westward. The middle bar shall pass through the midst of the boards from end to end. You shall overlay the boards with gold, make their rings of gold asholders for the bars, and overlay the bars with gold. And you shall raise up the tabernacle according to its pattern which you were shown on the mountain.

a. And you shall make bars of acacia wood: Each bar was made of acacia wood and overlaid in gold. Seemingly, the bars ran the entire length of each side, linking together each board into one system.

b. The middle bar shall pass through the midst of the boards from end to end: Four bars ran horizontally on each side, linking each board. One bar – the middle bar – was invisible, running in the middle of each board.

i. This speaks to both the visible and the invisible unity among God’s people. The system of linking bars was both visible and invisible.

c. According to its pattern which you were shown on the mountain: The repetition of this phrase (Exodus 25:9; Exo_25:40 and here in 26:30) suggests that Moses received a vision of exactly how the tabernacle should look. He had to communicate this vision to the craftsmen who did the actual building.

i. God works the same way in leaders today. He gives them a vision of what His work should be, and the leader passes it on to others who will do much of the actual work. Moses couldn’t have remained silent about what God had shown him, or the work would never have gotten done.

C. Two barriers: the veil and the screen.

1. (Exodus 26:31-33) The veil.

“You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim. You shall hang it upon the four pillars of acacia woodoverlaid with gold. Their hooks shall be gold, upon four sockets of silver. And you shall hang the veil from the clasps. Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy.

a. You shall make a veil: The veil, made of fine linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarn, with artistic design of cherubim, hung on four pillars made of acacia wood overlaid with gold, set on silver sockets.

i. The ancient Jews said the later veil of the temple was as wide as four fingers, so that no one could possible see into the Most Holy place.

b. With an artistic design of cherubim: From this, we know that the interior of the tabernacle was filled with gold and the pattern of cherubim.

c. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy: The veil separated the tent into two compartments. The first compartment was the holy place, which was the larger room, first entered, with the table of showbread, the lampstand, and the altar of incense. The second compartment was the Most Holy place, a smaller room with the Ark of the Covenant.

i. This veil was a barrier, and no priest could go beyond the veil into the Most Holy place except the high priest. He could only enter once a year, and that on the Day of Atonement.

ii. Spiritually speaking, in dying for our sins Jesus with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).

iii. In the temple, this veil was torn from top to bottom at the death of Jesus (Matthew 27:51), showing that through His death, there is no longer a barrier to the Most Holy place.

iv. Now the Most Holy Place is open to us: brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is His flesh (Hebrews 10:19-20). The torn veil of Matthew 27:51 also symbolizes the broken body of Jesus, through which we have access to the Most Holy Place.

v. Centuries later, the ancient general Pompey pushed aside the priests and walked right into the Most Holy place of the temple – and was astounded to see there was no idol or statue.

2. (Exodus 26:34-35) The arrangement of furniture in the two rooms of the tabernacle.

“You shall put the mercy seat upon the ark of the Testimony in the Most Holy. You shall set the table outside the veil, and the lampstand across from the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south; and you shall put the table on the north side.

a. Put the mercy seat upon the ark of the Testimony in the Most Holy: The Ark of the Covenant (here called the ark of the Testimony) was behind the veil in the Most Holyplace.

b. Set the table outside the veil: The table of showbread was on the north side of the tabernacle (on the right as one entered the tabernacle) and the lampstand was toward the south (on the left as one entered the tabernacle).

i. The furniture in the holy place spoke of three great obligations of walking with God: pray (the altar of incense), fellowship (the table of showbread), and receive illumination (the lampstand).

3. (Exodus 26:36-37) The screen for a door.

“You shall make a screen for the door of the tabernacle, woven of blue, purple, and scarletthread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver. And you shall make for the screen five pillars of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold; their hooks shall be of gold, and you shall cast five sockets of bronze for them.

a. Make a screen for the door of the tabernacle: The same color scheme – blue and purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen thread was used to make a covering for the east entrance of the tabernacle. This was the only way to enter the structure.

b. Five pillars of acacia wood: The screen hung from hooks on five pillars. Each pillar was made of acacia wood overlaid with gold and set on a foundation of bronze.

i. Since bronze (or brass) must be made with a refining fire, it pictures purity and endurance through trial. The entrance to the tabernacle hung on a symbolic foundation of what Jesus did for us

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EXODUS 25 – SUPPLIES AND DIRECTIONS FOR THE TABERNACLE

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EXODUS 25 – SUPPLIES AND DIRECTIONS FOR THE TABERNACLE

A. The supplies for this building project.

1. (Exodus 25:1-2) God tells Moses to ask for an offering.

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.”

a. Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering: Before God told Moses what the offering was for, He told Moses to take an offering. God wanted Israel to be motivated by a willing heart more than by a specific need.

i. Our giving should not be primarily because of need. We should primarily give because our willing heart compels us.

b. Bring Me an offering: God is a rich God and can use any method of providing He wants. Yet He usually uses the willing hearts of His people as the way to support His work.

i. This is because God wants to develop giving hearts within us. When we become givers we become more like God, who is the greatest giver: For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16).

ii. Therefore we must be givers, not so much because God or the church needs our money, but because we must be conformed into the image of God’s Son (Romans

c. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart: God only wanted contributions from those who gave willingly. God is not interested in coerced or manipulated giving. In the New Testament this idea is echoed in 2 Corinthians 9:7 : So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.

d. You shall take My offering: The offering didn’t belong to Moses, it didn’t belong to the elders, and it didn’t belong to Israel itself. God said you shall takeMy offering. The offering belonged to God, and was held by Moses and the nation on God’s behalf.

2. (Exodus 25:3-7) The specific materials to be gathered.

“And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair; ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood; oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense; onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.

a. This is the offering which you shall take from them: Each of these materials were used in building a structure God commanded Moses to build. Each of these materials has a symbolic or a spiritual representation relevant to the building.

i. In the proportion of the finished tabernacle, the present day value of these materials total more than $13 million. Their combined weight would be almost 19,000 pounds (8,600 kilos).

b. Blue: The dye for this color was extracted from a shellfish, seemingly in several different hues.

c. Purple: The dye for this color came from the murex snail. It was a purple-red color.

d. Scarlet: The dye for this color came from the dried and powdered eggs and bodies of a particular worm (coccus ilicis) which attaches itself to the holly plant.

e. Fine linen: This term translates an Egyptian word. The Egyptians knew (and undoubtedly taught the Jews) how to make fine linen. In fine modern linens, there are 86 threads per inch. In Egyptian tombs they have found linen with 152 threads per inch.

f. Goat hair: Coverings made from this material were typically black and coarse, similar to our modern felt.

g. Rams’ skins: This customarily had the wool removed and was like fine leather.

h. Badger skins: This difficult to translate phrase may also refer to the skins of porpoises or manatees (the sea cow)..

i. Acacia wood: This wood is harder and darker than oak. It is also very durable because wood-eating insects avoid it.

3. (Exodus 25:8-9) The purpose and pattern of the tabernacle.

“And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.

a. Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them: The purpose of the tabernacle was to be the dwelling place of God. The idea was not that God exclusively lived in that place, but that it was the specific place where men would come and meet God.

b. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings: The pattern of the tabernacle was according to a heavenly reality. It was a copy and shadow of the heavenly things (Hebrews 8:5). Therefore, it had to be made according to exact dimensions, being somewhat of a “scale model” of the area around God’s throne in heaven.

i. “The pattern means almost ‘architect’s model.’“ (Cole)

B. Instructions for building the Ark of the Covenant.

1. (Exodus 25:10-11) The basic structure of the Ark of the Covenant.

“And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around.

a. They shall make an ark: The first item God gold Moses to build was the ark, later called the Ark of the Covenant. This was the most important single item associated with the tabernacle, modeled after the throne of God in heaven.

b. They shall make an ark of acacia wood: The Ark of the Covenant was essentially a box (an ark is a box, not a boat). It was made of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, 3 foot 9 inches long; 2 foot 3 inches wide; and 2 foot 3 inches high.

2. (Exodus 25:12-15) The rings and the poles for the Ark of the Covenant.

“You shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in its four corners; two rings shall be on one side, and two rings on the other side. And you shall make poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, that the ark may be carried by them. The poles shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it.

a. You shall cast four rings of gold for it: The Ark didn’t have “handles” and was not to be carried by lifting it directly in one’s hands. Instead, it was to be carried by inserting gold-overlaid wood poles into gold rings at each corner of the Ark.

b. The poles shall be in the rings of the ark; they shall not be taken from it: The poles were to remain inserted in the rings, and to be the only proper source of contact with the Ark. Apart from touching the poles, it was forbidden to touch the Ark of the Covenant.

i. In 2 Samuel 6:6-7, Uzzah touched the Ark to keep it from falling off a cart but he did not touch it at the poles and God struck him dead. Uzzah was wrong in his thinking that God would let the Ark be damaged; in fact, it did not fall off the cart, and no thanks to Uzzah. Uzzah was also wrong in his thinking that there was something less pure about the ground than his act of pure disobedience.

3. (Exodus 25:16) The contents of the Ark.

“And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you.

a. You shall put into the ark the Testimony: God instructed Moses to put the Testimony – that is, a copy of the law – into the Ark of the Covenant.

b. Which I will give you: God told Moses to build the Ark of the Covenant to hold the law even before the law was given. Later, God would instruct Israel to put other things in the Ark as well – the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant (Hebrews 9:4).

3. (Exodus 25:17-22) The mercy seat.

“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width. And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.

a. You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold: The mercy seat – actually, the lid to the Ark – was to be made of pure gold, and made with the sculpted figures of cherubim. In the picture provided by the Ark of the Covenant, it was as if God dwelt between the two cherubim, and met Israel there.

b. And there I will meet with you: God met with Israel in the sense that He met with the representative of Israel (the high priest) in peace because of the atoning blood on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:14-15).

c. I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim: It was as if God, looking down from His dwelling place between the cherubim, saw the law in the Ark – and knew we were guilty of breaking His law. But atoning blood of sacrifice was sprinkled on the mercy seat, so that God saw the blood covering the breaking of His law – and forgiveness could be offered.

i. It is remarkable that even before God gave Moses the tablets of the Ten Commandments, God made provision for Israel’s failure under the law.

ii. In Romans 3:25, the Greek word for propitiation (hilasterion) is also used in the Septuagint (an early translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek, read in the days of the New Testament) for the “mercy seat,” it might be said “Jesus is our mercy seat” – He is the place and the means of our redemption.

C. Instructions for building the table of showbread.

1. (Exodus 25:23-29) Dimensions and materials for the table of showbread.

“You shall also make a table of acacia wood; two cubits shall be its length, a cubit its width, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a molding of gold all around. You shall make for it a frame of a handbreadth all around, and you shall make a gold molding for the frame all around. And you shall make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings on the four corners that are at its four legs. The rings shall be close to the frame, as holders for the poles to bear the table. And you shall make the poles of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be carried with them. You shall make its dishes, its pans, its pitchers, and its bowls for pouring. You shall make them of pure gold.

a. You shall also make a table of acacia wood: This table was to be made of acacia wood, overlaid with gold; 3 feet long, 1 foot, 6 inches wide, and 2 feet, 3 inches high.

b. The rings shall be close to the frame, as holders for the poles to bear the table: This table was also to have rings and poles necessary to carry it, as well as accompanying dishes, pans, and so forth, all made out of pure gold.

2. (Exodus 25:30) The purpose for the table of showbread.

“And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always.

a. And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always: On the table of showbread were set twelve loaves of showbread – literally, “bread of faces.” This was bread associated with, and to be eaten before, the face of God.

i. Meyer calls the showbread “presence-bread.” Bread is necessary for survival, and the link was a reminder that fellowship with God was just as necessary for man.

b. Showbread: According to Leviticus 24:5-9, showbread was made of fine flower, and twelve cakes of showbread – one for each tribe of Israel – set on the table, sprinkled lightly with frankincense. Once a week, the bread was replaced and only priests could eat the old bread.

D. Instructions for building the lampstand.

1. (Exodus 25:31-36) The lampstand itself.

“You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and flowers shall be of one piece. And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. Three bowls shall be made like almondblossoms on one branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower, and three bowls made like almond blossoms on the other branch, with an ornamental knob and a flower; and so for the six branches that come out of the lampstand. On the lampstand itself four bowls shall be made like almond blossoms, each with its ornamental knob and flower. And there shall be a knob under thefirst two branches of the same, a knob under the second two branches of the same, and a knob under the third two branches of the same, according to the six branches that extend from the lampstand. Their knobs and their branches shall be of one piece; all of it shall be one hammered piece of pure gold.

a. You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold: The lampstand was hammered out of pure gold, with no specific dimensions given, but after the pattern of a modern-day menorah. It had one middle shaft with three branches coming out of each side, for a total of seven places for lamps.

b. Three bowls shall be made like almond blossoms on one branch: The repetition of the almond blossom motif was important because it was the first tree to blossom in the springtime.

2. (Exodus 25:37-40) The lamps for the lampstand.

“You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. And its wick-trimmers and their trays shall be of pure gold. It shall be made of a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils. And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.

a. You shall make seven lamps for it: The tabernacle represented the throne of God, and Revelation 4:5 describes Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. The seven lamps represent the presence of the Holy Spirit in heaven.

b. So that they give light in front of it: Since the tabernacle itself was a completely covered tent, the only source of light was the lamps of the lampstand.

c. According to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain: The principle first mentioned in Exodus 25:9 – that the tabernacle and its furnishings were to be built according to the specific, revealed pattern – is here again emphasized. It had to be a proper representation of the heavenly reality.

 

 

 


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