Notes from Dec 2, 91
The following is a good introduction to this chapter:
Jehovah had redeemed the Israelites from bondage. He had made a Covenant with them and had given them laws. He had promised, on condition of their obedience, to accept them as His own "peculiar treasure," as "a kingdom of priests and an holy nation" (xix. 5, 6). And now He was ready visibly to testify that He made his abode with them. He claimed to have a dwelling for Himself, which was to be in external form a tent of goat's hair (v. 4), to take its place among their one tents, and formed out of the same material.. The special mark of His Presence within the Tent was to be the Ark or chest containing the Ten Commandments on two tables of stone (xxi. 18), symbolizing the divine Law of holiness, and covered by the Mercy seat, the type of reconciliation,- Moses was divinely taught regarding the construction and arrangement of every part of the Sanctuary.. (Barnes' Notes.)
The new revelation which he now received concerned the Tabernacle which was to be erected, the priesthood which was to serve in it, and the services which were to be celebrated.. (Edersheim.)
In the previous chapter, we saw Moses called by the Lord up into the mountain where he remained before the Lord for 40 days. There he receives further instructions from the Lord in 24:12-18. He goes back to the people and seals the covenant between them and the Lord their God. Chapters 25-31 records what Moses is told while up there with the Lord. Then in chapter 25, the Lord instructs Moses concerning things which must be done so the Lord can dwell among His covenant people.
Moses will be given a vast amount of exacting detail concerning the offerings, priests, buildings &c, but significantly, the very first offering that is covered is the free will offering.
What is about to follow in the building of this beautiful tabernacle is a dim shadow of what it is to represent. It shows "the thoughts of God concerning salvation and His kingdom, which the earthly building was to embody and display, were visibly set forth in the pattern shown." Keil, Second Book of Moses, pg. 167.
Vs. 1-7, give a general outline of what would be needed for their service to their God. The material called for came from several sources: passed down to them by their fathers from Abraham on; they had been in Egypt for four hundred years, and not always as slaves, so they would have gained wealth from Egypt; they spoiled the Egyptians, and left with the wealth of Egypt; they had already had a battle with the Amalekites, which they won; more than likely they had carried on trade with the many trading caravans that trafficked here in the wilderness. (The rams' skins dyed red is known today as red morocco leather. Many Bibles are covered with this type of leather. It is interesting that, according to Keil, "literally the crimson [was] prepared from the dead bodies and nests of the glow-worm.." Shittim wood was the only wood used in the construction of the Tabernacle and its furnishings; it was replaced with cedar and fir in the latter Temple. Shittim wood was readily available in the wilderness, and is the only wood which survives there today.
1) Oehler describes this offering well: It was a "free gift for which there was no other occasion than the will of the offerer, whom his heart impelled to show his thankful sense of all the blessings which the goodness of God had bestowed upon him." Pg. 288
2) Moses is commanded by God to invite the people to give this offering to the Lord; Moses is not commanded to command the people to give this offering. Many times I, as a pastor, am afraid to give the people of God the opportunity to give a free-will offering above what is required of them. An offering maybe for maintenance on the buildings or special projects &c.
All service to the Lord must begin with freely giving one's self to the Lord.
3) The people are made willing by the Lord, Ph 2:13, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure. See 2 Cor 8:11, 12; 9:7. Clearly, we as leaders are required to give God's people opportunity to give unto the Lord of their own free will, because it is the Lord which makes them willing. Will we grieve the Holy Spirit by not giving His people the opportunity to give. Will the people grieve the Spirit by not giving, Eph 4:30? Thus, even though the people were not forced to give and gave willingly.
The implication is that if the offering was not made with a willing heart, it was not acceptable. I believe that this willingness was restricted to only this offering. The rest of the offerings, sacrifices and giving of the tithes, was mandatory. Willingness had nothing to do with the rest; they were followed out of obedience to the commands of God. This offering was not commanded.
4) Notice what they were required to bring of their own free will in this offering.
1. Gold, silver, brass.
2. Blue, purple, scarlet, goat's hair, fine linen, rams' & badgers' skins (not any old skin, but rams' & badgers' skin).
3. Shittim wood.
4. Oil, spices, incense. Latter we are told what kind these had to be.
5. Onyx and other precious stones.
Everything was for a specified purpose.
After all of this is brought in, then the Lord spends the rest of Exodus explaining how it is all to be used. Any other gifts or use would have displeased the Lord.
A) This offering was not a cheep offering; it was an extremely expensive. They could not give what they wanted to give, but it had to be gold, silver, brass, and certain other items. Only the best could be given.
B) Although this first offering was a free will offering (it was not an enforced tax upon the people), neither the gift nor the use of the gift was 'free will.' In other words, the people could not give what they wanted to and Moses could not use it like he wanted to. Everything had to be given and used according to the plan and word of the Lord, or it was all in vain and rebellion. The pattern was already established in heaven (at least in the mind of God), and Moses' only responsibility was to follow that pattern and see that others followed it also.
C) These people offered the free will offering, but the offering was bound by the will of God, His law-word: free-will had to operate within the frame work of God's command word. "Here's the way you must give and use this free will offering." Even though this was a free will offering, its misuse in giving and using would have caused it to be rejected. They were not free to give a wagon or a live beast in this offering; therefore, free does not mean free to do our own thing. Free means free to do what God commands us to do, by His enabling grace.
The people could only carry out what God appointed, and could only fulfil their covenant duty, by the readiness with which they supplied the materials required for the erection of the sanctuary and completed the work with their own hands. Keil
Thus, this important point: genuine godly service to the Lord is only doing what He has appointed us to do, and giving back to Him what is already His.
Our Lord made a point of this in Luke 17:10, So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
Consequently, we see that the only way the covenant-people of God can serve their God is just by doing their duty as outlined in God's revelation to man because the God of our redemption has total claim upon the total person and all his possessions. The Word of God defines man's duty to their Master. Furthermore, no matter how hard one works for the Master, he is only doing what is his duty to do under his covenant-responsibilities. In other words, these people gave great treasures to the Lord, but it was their covenant-responsibility to give those treasures.
How many folks feel that, 1) because they are "sacrificially" giving over and above what the Lord requires of them they have done a great service to God, 2) because they are giving such a "great sum," they can serve according to their own will, and 3) they can give whatever they desire because it is given of their own "free-will"?
First, no matter how much one might give, even of their own
free will, they are only doing their duty to the God of their
Second, no matter what they give it must be the best.
Third, everything must be used exactly as the Lord desires (according to the divine commands spoken by the Lord).
Fourth, though an offering may be of one's own free will, it must still be in accord with the word of God. God will not accept "gifts" that are the result of the wages of unrighteousness. Deuteronomy 23;18.
D) God has called His people according to a predetermined pattern; it is our responsibility to find that pattern for our lives and live it by His grace.
E) The pattern of God's word is established forever in the heavens and revealed to man in the form of Christ and the Word of God. Our responsibility is not to add to it or detract from it; our only responsibility is to develop and apply that pattern which we have.
5) Obviously, they gave what was needed for the project at hand: precious material of all kinds. The Lord did not ask for the left-overs, but He required the best. Lev 22:17ff, even the free-will offering had to meet God's specifications. Not just any old offering would do, but it has to be "grade-one." In other words, because something was given above and beyond what was required, it could not be less than the best. Less than the best was totally unexceptional to the Lord because every offering represented Christ, Mal 1:8.
How many folks give what they don't need to the "Lord," and the "Lord" doesn't need it either. Israel freely gave what was needed.
6) We will deal with this much more in chapter 35, but the princes of the congregation brought the precious stones, 35:27. We will also see that each person brought what they could, some more, some less. Thus, the more a person has, the more accountable he is to use it for the Lord.
7) Ex 10:24-26, Moses had told Pharaoh that Israel had to
take every thing they possessed with them because they knew not
with what they would need to serve the Lord until they got to
the location of that service. This passage in Ex 25:2-3-7, describes
what was required to serve the Lord.
The important point for us to see is that the purpose of the wealth which the Lord provides for us out of the world is to serve Him. Many people believe that they by their own might obtained the wealth from Egypt; therefore, they owe nothing to the Lord. That is not the attitude of the Lord nor of the people here in Exodus 25. They were, as we are, delivered from Egypt to serve the Lord in any manner and with anything that pleased Him.
Does this speak of Salvation? Does it speak of our required daily sacrifice of self to Him? The basic precept is clear: the free will of man can only be used as directed and/or permitted by God, or it is sin.
This was a free will offering. Where did the people get the material to offer? 12:36, The Lord gave them favour in the sight of the Egyptians.. The Lord caused the Egyptians to have compassion upon the Israelites for the past wrongs and they gave them many riches. These riches were provided by God through the heathens. These riches were to be used to serve God. (Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together shall men give unto your besom.)
We are a society within a society. God can and does give us favour with those we work for and as a result, we gain the world's wealth. But this wealth is not for our enjoyment. It is to be offered to God of our own free will for His service, to advance His kingdom on earth.
Ph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:8; He. 13;5, Paul makes this principle very clear. This, with Pro. 6:6, I believe shows us that a Christian is very restricted by the Lord in the amount of the world's wealth he is to hold on to. The Lord works on an individual basis.
In fact, Moses goes on over in Deuteronomy and warns God's people about holding on to too much of this wealth, 6:10-15. In the OT, the wealth of God's people was invested in the tabernacle and temple. Heathens would see the glory and come see. (Solomon and Queen of Sheba.) In the NT , the wealth of God's people is to be invested in the temple of God, going out to the heathen and taking God's glory with them. (1 Cor. 3:16 with Mat. 28:19, 20.)
As God's people keep more and more of the world's wealth and time for themselves, we see fewer and fewer heathens being brought into the Kingdom of God.
Notice over in Exo 32:2ff. Moses had been up in the mountain for quite a while, longer than the people wanted him to be.
Because things were not like they thought they should be, they decided to serve another god, and broke off their earrings to make one to serve.
1. These earrings were to be presented back in 25:1-3 for a free will offering.
2. Moses was still in the mountain with the Lord, so they had not yet made the free-will offering, nor did they know about it. But this is no excuse for idolatry.
(1) How like us: God doesn't work within our timetable, and we are ready to jump ship.
(2) This shows us that whatever is not given freely to the Lord will be used to serve the desires of our flesh. Freely given to the Lord does not necessarily mean that it leaves our possession, but it is His if He wants it.
"My free time (or money) is mine to use as I see fit. NO one is going to tell me how to use it." That person then ends up worshiping that free time, using it to satisfy the desires of the flesh.
How should it be? "All my time is the Lord's. What would He have me do with it?" It may be the same activity as we did when we claimed it as our own, but the second one is the proper attitude, the first is idolatry.
(3) We will serve someone or something: the earrings are mentioned in 35:22, where they are offered unto the Lord. Therefore, not all the people misused them in chapter 32. Regardless, every one will do something with them, either serve the Lord or serve self. Whatever we hold back from this free will offering, we will end up serving one day. Pride; lust; unbelief; hate; money; time.
If not fully and freely given to the Lord will become our god.
(4) 32:5, notice what Aaron did. He tried to use the very thing that was to be submitted to the Lord, but had not been, to serve the Lord. He tried to mix the secular and the sacred. His goal was to use the world's means to serve the God of heaven.
God will not accept this kind of offering.
Example: Does our pride cause us to come to Church?
(5) Interesting note, 32:25-28. They could tell who was on the Lord's side by their dress. Can others see that we are on the Lord's side by our dress? Or do we look like the world's crowd of idol worshipers?
We are to make a free will offering of our bodies to the Lord (Rom. 12:1), to the same Lord as is meeting Moses here. When we do this, we are not our own to use as we please, but according to the plan already established even before the foundation of the world, 2 Tim. 1:9 (Eph. 1 & 2).
Where is this plan for our lives found? Where was the plan and pattern for the tabernacle? In the law of Moses.
1 Peter 2:21, For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.
Just as sure as the tabernacle was already established in heaven and the word of the Lord revealed that pattern to Moses, the pattern for our lives is established in heaven (always has been), and the Word of the Lord alone reveals that pattern to us. We are to follow our pattern of our own free will. A free will offering.., but the offering could only be used after the pattern established in heaven and revealed in the Word of the Lord.
Furthermore, it is the HOLY SPIRIT works in our own spirit making us willing to offer the free will offering, Ph. 2:13.
According to all that I shew thee... He shows us in His Word. Without searching His word, we cannot find the pattern for our lives.
And the Lord spoke.. He only speaks through His word.
Then vs. 8 & 9, sanctuary.. or a hallowed place. The sanctuary refers to the whole of the Tabernacle, its furniture, Tent and Court. That I may dwell among them.. it was to be a constant reminder that the Lord their God was continuously among them. Furthermore, the Tabernacle and everything connected with its construction had to be in exact accord with the pattern given by the Lord to Moses.
Moses was shown by God an actual pattern or model of all that he was to make in and for the sanctuary. This can convey only one meaning. It taught far more than the general truth, that only that approach to God is lawful or acceptable which He has indicated. For, God showed Moses every detail to indicate that every detail had its special meaning, and hence could not be altered in any, even the minutest, particular, without destroying the meaning, and losing that significance which alone made it of importance. Nothing here was intended as a mere ornament or ceremony, all was symbol and type. As symbol, it indicated a present truth; as type, it pointed forward (a prophecy by deed) to future spiritual realities.. We repeat, everything here had a spiritual meaning.. and all proclaimed the same spiritual truth, and pointed forward to the same spiritual reality, viz, God in Christ in the midst of His church. (Edersheim)
What was shown to [Moses] was simply a picture of model of the earthly tabernacle and its furniture, which were to be made by him.. If God showed Moses a picture or model of the tabernacle, and instructed him to make everything exactly according to this pattern, we must assume that in the tabernacle and its furniture heavenly realities were to be expressed in earthly forms; or to put it more clearly, that the thoughts of God concerning salvation and His kingdom, which the earthly building was to embody and display, were visibly set forth in the pattern shown. The symbolical and typical significance of the whole building necessarily follows from this, though without our being obliged to imitate the Rabbins, and seek in the tabernacle the counterpart or copy of a heavenly temple. (Keil)
1) First, we should make a point of the purpose of the offering: it was to make a sanctuary for their God, that He might dwell in their midst. How bad did they want Him to dwell among them? How important was it to them to have something to properly represent the glory of Jehovah God? The importance which they placed on these things would have determined their gift. If the Lord was not important, then a small or no gift; if the Lord was important, then a larger gift, yet every person according to their ability was to give.
2) let them make me.. The people were going to do the work under Moses' direction. There are several NT passages which speak of this: For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building. 1 Corinthians 3:9. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Ephesians 4:12.
let them make.. indicates hard work on the people's part. And as we read the list of materials needed and the effort which would be required to make this dwelling place, we see that not only work, but hard, disciplined, sacrificial and sweaty work would be required, and it all had to be done according to the plan given in the word of God. The work of God is not for people looking for a life of ease; it is not for the weak or faint, nor is it for those who want to be "self-employed," because there are very strict rules or laws which govern every area of all work for the Lord.
God deliver us from people who either look upon or are in the Lord's work for the ease which they can make of it.
3) The people were going to make the sanctuary for the Lord's dwelling place. He was going to dwell in a tabernacle made with hands. Christ dwelt in a man-made body provided for Him by His mother. The church is a God-ordained institution, yet it is built by the hard work of people; the kingdom of God is advanced through much trial and hard work.
4) after the pattern.. Moses was shown a model (or the plans as David gave the plans for the Temple to Solomon, 1 Chron 28:11ff) of the Tabernacle which he was to follow exactly, Acts 7:44; Heb 8:5. He was absolutely forbidden to depart from the pattern shown to him because it spoke of better things: Christ and His ministry for and among His people, Heb 9:23. Whether or not this was a literal model is open for discussion, but we do know that the Tabernacle spoke of heavenly things; therefore, its plans could not be altered in any way, no more than can God's plan of salvation.
5) That I may dwell.. The God-ordained purpose of the Tabernacle was so that the Lord could dwell among His people. The more obvious NT corresponding passages are listed in the marg: 2 Cor 6:16; Heb 3:6 Rev 21:3. The method of God's dwelling among men is salvation and regeneration.
Thus, the work on the tabernacle could not be after man's ideas; it could only be constructed according to the word of God in every detail. The picture is salvation and approach to the heavenly Father.
6) The Tabernacle was made of the same material as was the
dwelling places of God's people. The application is obvious: John
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Rev 7:15, Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. The word is dwell.. (4637) It comes from the word tabernacle, 4636. And it means: 1) to fix one's tabernacle, have one's tabernacle, abide (or live) in a tabernacle (or tent), tabernacle; to dwell.
Thus, Christ, God in the flesh, took on the same body of dust which man tabernacles in, and lived in the midst of His creation for a short period of time. In His tabernacle of dust, He experienced the same infirmities as do His people: He was tempted in every manner as are we, yet without sin.
7) V. 8, Even though they were the Lord's redeemed people, there still had to be a sanctuary for the Lord to be able to dwell among them.
V. 8, And let then make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Rev. 21:3) In the NT, we are (our bodies) the dwelling place of the Lord, and His church is His tabernacle. The purpose of this building is that He may dwell among us.
Only as we 'build' the sanctuary (our lives) according to His Word can He dwell in us as He pleases. Can His glory shine from us? Can others see Him in us as the could in the tabernacle here that He is giving the plans for?
In this tabernacle, of course, we see Christ and our submitting to Christ all areas of our lives.
Remember when the 3 Hebrews in Babylon submitted their bodies to their God, they were not free to do their own thing. They were bound, not by the cords of the king, but by the law of God, not to bow. And they didn't. They were not free from the law, but free from the natural desire to bow and escape the nasty results of disobeying the king. They were only FREE to do what God commanded them to do. They stood their ground.
Even as Christians we are not free to do as we feel best because our sin nature has corrupted that feeling. Even the most "sanctified" person's feelings are corrupted.
Hard work is required for the kingdom's sake, but no matter how hard one works, that work must be done according to the command word of God or it is useless wood, hay and stubble.
Vs. 10-16, the Lord is more specific.
It represented the throne of God, and would contain the testimony of God, v. 16 (10 commandments). There are enough theological statements found in this ark to do a book about, but we will only cover some of the more obvious points.
1) The ark itself was made of wood covered with gold. The Lord uses people clothed in the gold of His spirit.
The term does not, as many modern critics understand, signify a lid in general; but... it is to be understood to mean an instrument of atonement [Eng. version, mercy seat], as the Septuagint correctly translates it.. Oehler, pg. 253
2) The covering for the ark and the tables within the ark was not made as was the rest of the ark: it was made of pure gold. The covering for man's sins must be pure, as was Christ.
3) The ark, with its mercy seat, would become the throne of Jehovah in the midst of His chosen people, and the footstool of the God of Israel, Ex 40:35 & 1 Chron 28:2.
4) The instructions concerning the offering was given first, then instructions are given concerning its use.
5) Notice where the detailed instructions start: the ark. This would be the innermost of the tabernacle. The Lord starts here and works out. In addition, the Lord goes into great detail concerning the construction of all of these things. Nothing is left to the imagination of the builder.
6) Everything is built around this central point, including the "tent city" in which His people dwelt.
A) All of life revolves around God. Every thing that is done is to be with the Ark at the center. The rest of the instructions concerning the tabernacle and the offerings will be instructions on how to approach the ark of the covenant, the throne of God.
B) The Lord starts with the innermost being of a person in regeneration, then He works out. Man does just the opposite; he passes laws to try to conform the outside, and he fails miserably.
C) Lawful approach to God starts in the heart.
4) Though the ark is the center, representing the throne of
God as He dwells among His people, the ark contains something
which is actually the center: the ten commandments.
A) the heart, personality or character of God is His law.
B) Everything is build upon and revolves around His law, the ten commandments.
C) All judgement and blessing upon men will be according to the Commandments.
7) No man could approach the heart or character of God (the law); therefore, it had to be covered and the individual's sins covered. The character of Christ was/is the law; therefore, the human flesh to veil the perfect law so man could approach Him.
This clearly tells us that no man can approach the living God based upon the law of the covenant, the ten commandments. V. 22, and there I will meet with thee.. God, not man, ordained the place and established the conditions for His meeting and communing with His people. Only through the shed blood and mercy of God can any person approach Him.
8) Notice the tremendous effort and cost which must go into the ark, yet it will be placed in the dark where no one can see it except the high priest, and then only once a year.
A) God sees the hidden things of our work, actions and thoughts. Therefore, we must do our very best for His glory whether anyone sees us or not.
B) Many times we hear the words, "That could have been sold and the money used to feed the poor." Here we see that everything which represents the Lord should be the best that is humanly possible.
9) "The ark, with the tables of the covenant as the self-attestation of God, formed the foundation of this throne, to show that the kingdom of grace which was established in Israel through the medium of the covenant, was founded in justice and righteousness." Keil. And we will add to Keil's statement that justice and righteousness is centered around the commandments.
For this reason, the kingdom of God founded upon justice and righteousness, the mercy seat was needed. Man can not be just and righteous enough to approach the throne of God; he must have mercy, not justice.
Vs 17-22, The golden cherubs
Keil describes the cherubs here on the ark as the likeness of human men, not kneeling but standing upright (vol 2, pg. 170).
1) The golden cherubs which sat on the top were made of beaten gold: "work beaten with the hammer and rounded, so that the figures were not solid but hollow." Keil. Thus, the skill which had to go into making the furniture for the tabernacle was beyond anything we know today. I am sure it has been lost to mankind.
2) The cherubs were to have their wings stretched toward each other and their head and eyes facing toward the mercy seat. The reason for this position of the cherubs is given in v. 22: from here the Lord wold commune with Moses, He would command Moses concerning the people.
3) Their purpose was,
A) the same here over the ark as it was in the Garden, to keep the way to the tree of life, ie. to prevent its approach by sinful men. The law represented life, but man could not approach it without mercy.
B) represent worship of Him that liveth forever and ever, Rev 4:10.
Note that through Christ, the curse of sin is lifted and access freely given to the tree of life. Notice that Rev 22 and the tree of life must take place before the end of all things because there is still sin present outside of the city.
V. 22, note the word, commandment. It is singular showing us that the law-word of God is one word and one law. Therefore, it cannot be separated without destroying the whole.
Vs. 23-30, the Lord moves out from the holy of hollies to the next chamber which contained the table and shewbread. The table, like the ark, was made of gold-covered wood with a crown of gold round about its top. Its utensils were of pure gold.
These loaves were called "bread of the face" (shewbread), because they were to lie before the face of Jehovah as a meat offering presented by the children of Israel (Lev 24:8), not as food for Jehovah, but as a symbol of the spiritual food which Israel was to prepare (Jn 6:27, cf.4:32, 34), a figurative representation of the calling it had received from God; so that bread and wine, which stood upon the table by the side of the loaves, as the fruit of the labour bestowed by Israel upon the soil of its inheritance, were a symbol of its spiritual labour in the kingdom of God, the spiritual vineyard of its Lord. Keil
Vs. 31-39, the candlestick of pure gold. Again, very minute detail as to how much it is to weigh, how it is to be made, how it is to burn and where it is to be located.
The instructions for the candlestick change significantly. The previous pieces of furniture for the Tabernacle, the Ark and the table for the shewbread, are treated as inanimate objects. Whereas, the candlestick, vs. 31-37, is treated like a person: notice how many times the candlestick is referred to as a person, v. 31, And thou shalt make a candlestick [of] pure gold: [of] beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. Therefore, it is obvious that there is far more involved in the tabernacle and its furnishings than what meets the eye.
It and all its accompanying vessels were to be made of a talent of pure gold. The size of the candlestick is given nowhere in the OT, but it has been estimated to have been the same size as the table of shewbread, ie. 1 1/2 cubit high, 1 1/2 cubit between the two outer most lamps.
It had seven arms, three on each side with one in the center, all hollow for the wicks and oil for light. It was lighted each evening and burned throughout the night, 27:20, 21.
1) Just as the people were to continually prepare spiritual food (the shew-bread) in the presence of Jehovah, they were "to present themselves continually to Jehovah in the burning lamps, as the vehicles and media of light, as a nation letting its light shine in the darkness of this world )cf. Matt 5:14, 16; Lk 12:35; Phil 2:15)." Keil.
2) The pure oil was an obvious reference to the power of the Spirit of God in order to be the light in a dark place.
3) Note the light only burned at night. We live in an age of darkness when we must indeed shine as a light by the power of the Spirit.
The candlestick is one of the more obvious references to the new people of God, the church empowered by the Spirit of Christ. Cf. Rev. 1:12ff (20). See also, Zech 4.
The shewbread and the candlestick represented continual communication with the God of Israel. Notice that both the candlestick and the shewbread required continual maintenance or they were unacceptable, v. 30 & Lev. 24:4. The continual maintenance of the representatives of continual communication with the Lord shows us the absolute need of continual communication with the Lord of Hosts. Yesterday's bread is stale today, and the Light will go out without a continual supply of fresh oil. In both cases, man had to supply the bread and oil, and in both cases work was required: the flour for the bread would require work; the oil would require work by beating the olives, Ex 27:20. Thus, it is no easy task to remain in communion with the Lord, but it is required.
V. 40, this is the second time the Lord warns Moses that all these things are to be made exactly as He instructs. His plan cannot be deviated from in the smallest way.
This chapter gives a quick overview of the tabernacle and its service and function from its center, the throne of God, to its outside covering. The most important points are covered, the Ark, the Mercy Seat, the Table of Shewbread and the Candlestick. This is by no means the total of what was contained; it is only the basic things. In chapter 26, the Lord starts adding great detail to the whole of the Tabernacle and its service.
The detail of this chapter and the succeeding ones shows us that the Lord of the Covenant can only be approached in the manner which He prescribes. Moses could take no short-cuts and everything had to be done to the most minute detail as shown in the mount.
(added, April 13, 1993)
It would be well to close this chapter with some observations made by Patrick Fairbairn. (I could cover these points here or wait until ch 35 where I also placed them. By placing them here, I could well skim over quickly the details of the tabernacle. Fairgairn justly makes the point that the details were little more than simply practical things for the time of the wilderness journeys.)
1) the tabernacle was called "the tent of meeting... The expression is intended to designate this tent or dwelling as the place in which God was to meet and converse with His people; not, as is too commonly supposed, the place where the children of Israel went to assemble, and in which they had a common interest."
2) "The tabernacle is again described as the tabernacle of the testimony, or tent of witness" because of the law which was placed within it. "For God dwells in His law, which makes known what He Himself is, and on what terms He will hold fellowship with men... [I]ts immediate object and design to have been the bringing of God near to the Israelites in His true character, and keeping up an intercourse between Him and them." Its design was to allow man to draw near to his God, Job 23:3. God's condescendention to man in a local habitation (tabernacle) "was an act of special kindness and grace to them. Furthermore, the tabernacle spoke of the imperfect state of things and the more perfect dispensation to come, ie. Christ.
3) Because the tabernacle did speak of heavenly things and communication between God and man, "it must evidently be constructed so as to express God's ideas, not man's." Though it must be build with man's hands, yet these hands must all be guided by the Spirit of God.
4) The materials were all to be furnished by the people as offerings, and most materials as free-will offerings. The sacred character of the structure is obvious from the fact that it was "made of things consecrated to the Lord... And the people, who had recently experienced the Lord's pardoning mercy, after their shameful violation of the covenant, gave expression to their grateful feelings by the readiness and abundance of their contributions."
5) In regard to the articles selected by the Lord for use in the tabernacle, "it does not appear that any higher reason can be assigned for their selection, than that they were the best and fittest of their several kinds." The materials used and craftsmanship involved were "absolutely necessary, by means of some external apparatus, to bring out the idea of the surpassing glory and magnificence of Jehovah as the King of Israel, and of the singular honor which was enjoyed by those who were admitted to minister and serve before Him." The materials used throughout the tabernacle and garments "were best fitted for conveying suitable impressions of the greatness and glory of the Being for whose peculiar habitation it was erected." "[W]e have no reason to imagine they [marvelous works of embroidery, materials and skilled craftsmanship] had any other purpose to serve than similar works of art in the high priest's dress, viz., for ornament and beauty," and to "represent symbolically the greatness and glory of the Divine inhabitant."
6) The general structure and appearance of the tabernacle was to give the impression of one tent or dwelling, contrasted with many smaller parts joined together. [Obviously speaking of the one body of Christ, not many parts.] "Therefore, to seek for some deeper and spiritual reasons for such things as the boards and bars, the rings and staves, the different sorts of coverings, the loops and thatches, etc., is to go entirely into the region of conjecture, and give unbounded scope to the exercise of fancy." When the temple was built, many parts and properties of the tent were dropped; therefore, they were only outward and incidental. The comparison is the Lord's human body and garments He wore while here. They belonged to His humanity and had no deep, mystical meaning.
7) The act of special consecration of the tabernacle and all
that was in it. The tabernacle "was the seat and symbol of
the divine kingdom on earth. The one seat and symbol; because
Jehovah, the God of Israel, being the one living God, and though
filling heaven and earth with His presence, yet condescending
to exhibit, in an outward material form, the things concerning
His character and glory, behoved to guard with especial care against
the idea so apt to intrude from other quarters, of a divided personality."
Canaan was replete with worship of gods on every hill; therefore,
God "sought to check this corruption in its fountain-head,
by presenting Himself to His people as so essentially and absolutely
one, that He could have but one proper habitation, and one throne
"Still, enlightened worshippers understood that the enjoyment of God's presence and blessing was by no means confined to that outward habitation, and that while it was the seat, it was also the symbol, of the kingdom of God. "...the tabernacle, in short, was the visible symbol of the Church or kingdom of God." Note that this is basically what Oehler said. See my quote of his statements.
8) The anointing of the tabernacle, his furnishings and priests, spoke of the anointing of Christ, the Anointed One of God. It spoke of the anointing of His servants with the Spirit, thus endowing them with grace for divine service and obedience to His commands. Anointing "not only rendered the tabernacle and its vessels holy, but made them also the imparters of holiness to others." Thus when His people are brought into the kingdom, they are "made partakers of His holiness."
"Of what, then, was the tabernacle a type? Primarily of Christ, as God manifest in the flesh, for the redemption of His people, and their participation in the life and blessing of God. This is heaven's grand and permanent provision for securing what the tabernacle, as a temporary substitute, aimed at accomplishing... So that, as the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, He again dwells in the Church of true believers as His fulness; and the idea symbolized in the tabernacle is properly realized, not in Christ personally and apart, but in Him as the Head of a redeemed offspring, vitally connected with Him, and through Him having access even into the holiest. Consequently the idea as to its realization is still in progress; and it shall have reached its perfect consummation only when the number of the redeemed has been made up, and all are set down with Jesus amid the light and glories of the New Jerusalem..." Christ "so identified His body with the temple, as in a manner to declare that the destruction of the one would carry along with it the destruction of the other; that that alone should henceforth be the proper dwelling-place of Deity, with, from being instinct with the principle of an immortal life, could be destroyed only for a season, and should presently be raised up again to be the perpetual seat and centre of God's kingdom." Typology, pp 217, 218.
As we see from #6 above, the things that passed away when the new temple was built, were of very little significance: e.g. skins, boards, taches, &c. On the other hand, the things of the tabernacle which were carried over into the temple were of great importance: e.g. altars, shewbread, ark, candlesticks, &c. Therefore, our study should emphasize the important things and skim over the unimportant.