April 3-19, 1993
In chapter 34, Moses called Aaron and the rulers of the congregation to him to report to them the instructions which he received from the Lord. Evidently, this chapter records what Moses told them.
He gathered all the congregation of Israel together, and spoke the word of the Lord to them.
1) these are not Moses' words, but God's. The Lord gives not His word to fill books and heads with knowledge. He gives His words, that ye should do them.
2) Moses opens his instructions to Israel with the reminder of the sabbath law. We have covered this law else where, so we will not again here other than to note a couple points about the location of the command:
A) that ye should do them is followed with, Six days shall work be done. Thus the commends of the Lord could only be done within the boundaries of the law of God. The Lord reminds His people continually that godly work in itself is not obedience to His commands. Only godly work done within the bounds of godly law pleases the Lord.
Though the Lord gave the tabernacle instructions first in ch 31, the sabbath command was attached. It seems that every time the Lord instructs concerning building the tabernacle, He has the sabbath law attached. Thus there is far more to the sabbath law than just not working on the sabbath. As I mentioned in Apl's (93), the sabbath primarily speaks of "spiritual" work or work with a godly motive. No matter how "spiritual" the goal of a work, it must always be done in a godly manner.
B) if God's dwelling place in the midst of His people (tabernacle) had to be built within the framework of the essence of the sabbath law, how much more must our everyday work and activity be carried on within the essence of the sabbath? The Lord just does not look lightly upon our modern disregard of the sabbath.
C) shall work be done. This reminds me of Paul's instructions concerning work: "if a man will not work, he should not eat." I think here we see that if a man cannot make a living within 6 days, he is living too high.
The details of the tabernacle have been given to Moses, ch 25. Now Moses passes the details on to the people for the people to turn them into reality. The rest of the book will cover these details.
The following is copied from Ch 25.
The following points are summed up from Fairbairn's Typology.
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, skilled craftsmanship, &c.] 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.
Now Moses takes the instructions to the people that were given to him the first time he was on the mount, ch. 25, where we covered willingness in detail, so I will not spend much time here on it. As we see from #6 above, the things that passed away when the new temple was built, were of very little significance: eg. skins, boards, taches, &c. On the other hand, the things of the tabernacle which were carried over into the temple were of great importance: eg. altars, shewbread, ark, candlesticks, &c.
Here are a few points which I missed in ch 25:
1) This is the thing..., not the things. God's word is one word. Jas 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all. With the Lord and His word, it is either all or none.
2) which the Lord commanded... Moses in not speaking for himself, but he is delivering God's command-word to the people. This is the responsibility of God's man of all ages: deliver God's command-word to the people. Because Moses was very careful to deliver God's word, any resistance against Moses' words was/is resistance against God. Thus the harsh judgment against those who disregarded Moses' law, He 10:26, &c.
3) both instructions (chs 25 & 35) start with the gifts of the people. Keeping in mind that the tabernacle did not represent the church building but the person of Christ.
A) God uses people, and He uses the gifts of His people. He did not tell the people to start a fund rasing projects; He told them to give of what the Lord had blessed them with.
B) the Lord defined what was acceptable as gifts to Himself. Thus not only was a willing heart required, but also an obedient heart. Godly motive is required, but Godly motive will not stand apart from obedience. The two cannot be separated.
C) nothing is built without cost and sacrifice. The Lord could have allowed them to find these things in the wilderness (it was not barren), but He did not. He required of them what they had worked for as slaves. The kingdom of God on earth is established and advanced by the wealth and work of God's people. In fact, God's purpose for wealth is to establish His covenant, Deut 8:17, 18.
D) here is an illustration of Paul's words that we are laborers together with God. 1 Cor 3:9, 10 For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
Note the personal pronoun used in reference to the tabernacle and its furnishings, his. The tabernacle represented the body of Christ as He dwelt among His people. Today it represents His body, the church, as He continues to dwell among His people. Thus we labour together with the Lord to build His new tabernacle.
4) v. 5, willing heart gives willingly (cheerful is a NT term, 2 Cor 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.) of their "material goods" to the work of the Lord. V. 10, the wise heart works willingly for the Lord, cf. 36:1-4.
A) Wise here means skilful in technical work; artisans of tabern. and temple and their furniture... women in spinning..." Thayer, p 314. Thus wisdom would realize that no matter how skilled one is, the Lord provided the skill. Furthermore, wisdom realizes that the god given skill is to be used for God's glory.
B) probably the most important point here is that all of God's work is done by people willing to work for God, and obedience to God involved work and giving. Furthermore, His kingdom is advanced by people willing to give for its financing. For it is God that worketh in you... The Lord gives both the will and ability to serve Him. Any time Scripture refers to man's willingness &/or ability to serve God, we see the Spirit of God at work. Man just does not have the natural desire to serve his Maker. Adam lost that for him.
C) the heart's attitude toward God will be seen in one's giving to and working for the Lord.
D) without willing gifts, the wise hearted could not work. But gifts are no excuse for not working. (Who gave what is covered latter.)
E) the people freely gave to the extent that they had to be restrained, 36:5-7. God's mercy and grace after the sin of the calf is fresh upon their mind, so they give abundantly. I think we see in this a proper motive for giving: remembrance of and gratefulness for God's mercy. This should be enough motive for everyone to give of their best wealth and talent.
A personal note: praise the Lord for our folks willing heart in giving. And most of them are also willing to work when it is needed. Probably one of my major goals is to see my folks grow to where they give and work for the Lord, not for any human motivation. I think this desire comes through teaching the word of God and the Spirit working in the heart.
5) Exo 35:5, 10, let him bring it, his offering; shall come to do the work. Moses did not have to beg God's people to give or go after them to work; rather, they came to Moses and offered their wealth and services for the work of the Lord. In the military, we soon learned, "Never volunteer for anything," but that is not the Christian's attitude in God's service. One's willingness to offer his wealth and abilities in the work of the Lord is a mark of the Spirit at work in him, For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure, Php 2:13
A) I believe there is a significant note in this chapter: under skill nothing is mentioned about being willing; under giving, the willing heart is required. In other words, those who had the funds gave from a willing heart, but those who had skills were commanded to use those skills for the glory of God. If he has a skill, he shall come. This thought is confirmed in vs. 30-35 below.
6) everyone can do something in the service of the Lord, but not everyone can do the same thing. Every one has the same amount of time, but not every one has the same amount of funds. Thus, the "poor" can invest as much as the "rich" with their time. Wisdom according to the commands of God determined time usage.
Note, wisdom will find time to work for the Lord.
7) proper authority in giving. Though there is no distinction between male and female in ch 35, ch 25 says let every man. This statement would lead me to believe that the women could only give from under their husband's (or father's) authority, although man could be a generic statement: 35:22, both men and women... I am inclined to say that the women could only give under proper authority because the man could only give under proper authority. He could not give what &/or how he wanted; he had to give within the guidelines of the command-word of God.
8) the zeal for the word of God, evidenced in this section, had to be confined to the commandment of the Lord: the willing & wise heart could only be within the command of God, v. 4. Thus no matter how godly the zeal or how great the knowledge, both were restricted. As Paul said, But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
Observe that one of the major problems of our day is that the "Christian" man uses his zeal and wisdom according to his own opinion of godliness, and not according to the word of God. a) God placed restrictions upon man's zeal with the sabbath law; God places further restrictions upon man's zeal with the command here concerning giving. A point I mention often is that some in their "zeal" will bring to the Lord (to the church) their left-overs or something which they no longer have a use for. Note that this giving started with gold, silver and brass; these things were not the people's cast-of goods. b) the wise heart was also restricted: wisdom's purpose was to know what pleased the Lord and how to do what pleased the Lord.
9) Vs. 11-19, gives the order again. The order of the actual building was the tent of the tabernacle first, then the ark of the covenant, then the furnishings of the tabernacle. Evidently, Bezaleel and Aholiab were the chief overseers and teachers who organized the whole operation and taught others how to do the required work (35:34), because 39:32, 33, the completed tabernacle and all that pertained to it is brought to Moses. Then apparently Moses erected it according to the instructions of the Lord.
The people departed and set about doing what Moses had commanded in the name of the Lord. The command here to willingly offer their wealth and abilities for the Lord is as strong as the ten commandments. Thus obedience to God is far more than just the ten commandments. He holds us accountable for our wealth and abilities which He alone has provided. Will they be used to consume upon our own lusts, or will they be used for His praise, honour and glory?
1) many people depart from hearing God's man speak, but never take to heart what is said. If he is God's man, they had best take his words to heart for action. If he is not God's man, they need to get rid of him or they themselves go elsewhere.
2) every one whom... as many as were... The passage clearly reads as though not every one took part in the giving or the work. Only those who's heart was made willing. Not every one gave, but more than enough gave to do the work of God.
A) as a pastor, one of the greatest verses in the Bible is 36:6: the people gave more than enough. My, what could be done toward advancing God's kingdom with "more than enough" finances and help.
B) probably one of the saddest things is how people can listen to the word of God and clearly God's mercy at work, but they still refuse to make any move toward obedience or service. God must work in one's heart by His grace.
C) someone has said, "God's work done in God's way will not lack God's finances." I am convened that the Lord controls the amount of work He wants done for His kingdom's sake by the amount of labour and funds He provides. Thus when the Lord withholds funds and assistance, we know that His judgement is upon a people. Without funds and help, His word has very limited exposure.
3) the Lord's offering, not Moses'.
A) I realize that the priest's garments were special for the office he held, but the people provided his garments. The Aaronic priesthood was dissolved in Christ.
4) Vs. 22-29.
v. 22, brought bracelets, and earrings..., not every one, but the willing brought... Not everyone was involved with the calf because there was still much earrings left among the people.
V. 23, every man would say that all who had these necessary articles brought what they had.
V. 24, but on the other hand, not every one brought silver and brass &c.
V. 24, but all who had shittim wood brought it.
V. 25 all the wise hearted (skilled in spinning) did spin.
V. 26, but only the ones who were stirred up in their skill spun the goats' hair. I would suppose that spinning goats hair required great and special skill.
V. 27, the people, both men and women, brought the silver, gold and brass, but the rulers brought the precious stones, spices and oil. Note that the rulers brought the most expensive gifts. A person is accountable for what he has, not for what he does not have.
The children of Israel willingly offered to the lord what they could. But there is an important statement, v. 29: whose heart made them willing... The Lord had to make them willing to obey the Lord's command. This doctrine of man's depravity and inability to serve or please God apart from His Sovereignly given Spirit, is so obvious that I do not know how any one could miss it. It is everywhere in the word of God.
5) this section closes as it opened, which the Lord had commanded Moses. The people did not give to Moses or to keep Moses happy. They gave because God commanded.
I should pray for myself and my folks that the Spirit of the Lord would make us willing to obey the word of the Lord with our wealth and talents. But again, He moves in hearts according to His own purpose in order to work His own sovereign plan of history.
I am impressed with this section every time I read it. I will not say much about it other than a few obvious points because I have done at least two extensive studies on it for mailings.
1) the Lord called these men by name. The Lord knows who we are, where we are and what we are. The Lord knew more about these two men than they knew about themselves.
Observe that this thought that the Lord knows us by name brings up an exciting point (I will only give a very quick overview of the passage in Isaiah because that is not really the topic right now. I will come back to Isaiah.):
One of the most important passages in Scripture for me is Isaiah 43:1, But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine.
This verse in itself is an exciting verse, but it is even better when viewed within its context.
Isa 42:1-4 refers to Christ's judgment, according to His law. He will bring forth judgment to the Gentiles, but His judgment will not harm His faithful people; rather, it will care for them, v. 3. (We should be careful in our definition of harm: God's may be different than ours. 1 Pet tells us that fiery trials purify His people. Obviously, God's people will go through fiery trials, tribulations and testings, but they will not harm us. They are for our good and God's glory.) Moreover, He shall not fail nor be discouraged (for He is not like us) until justice has been served in the whole earth. His law will go out to even the isles. I believe here that His emphasis on the isles signifies: 1) that God's prevenient grace has gone out to work in the hearts of many in distant lands; it has prepared them for the Lord's justice, and 2) no one will avoid the eyes and justice of the Lord. There is no place to hide from the Lamb.
Vs. 5-16. First is established the Speaker's authority, majesty and power over absolutely all creation. Nothing has existence apart from Him; therefore, He can bring to pass all that He is saying (notice the order of His work: a) heavens, b) earth, c) plants, d) all that breath, d) spirit), v. 5. The Lord of the vast creation ordained the Son in righteousness; He will be with him and keep Him, and give Him for a covenant (thus Leupold's statement: "In some mysterious way the Servant himself is the essence of that covenant, not only the one who transmits it." Isaiah, vol II, p 65. Thus if Christ is the actual, literal covenant, then it is spiritual that actually made one a member of the covenant. Therefore, it is spiritual baptism which makes one a member of the covenant people.). The Son, from before the foundation of everything in v. 5, has been set aside for the purpose of making a covenant with the peoples of the earth, including the Gentiles. V. 7 expands upon this thought in v. 5; yes, He made the living soul, and He also works in that soul. Furthermore, based upon v. 5, the Lord is jealous and will not share His glory or praise with any of creation, images especially, v. 8. The Lord promises to do a new, glorious thing in the earth, v. 9. The glorious actions of the Lord call for the whole earth to praise Him, vs. 10-12. The glorious thing is to prevail against his enemies, v. 13. He promises not to forsake His faithful people, v. 16.
Vs. 17-25. His people who are trusting in the arm of flesh and are hardened in their idolatry will continue in their evil, bringing the Lord's judgment upon themselves, v. 17-21. They have turned to their own ways and the Lord leaves them in their own ways. The Lord's righteousness prevails over lawlessness, and the law is exalted, v. 21. It is important to see that the law of God is exalted through God's judgment against lawlessness. The Lord gives His people who are hardened in their trust in the arm of the flesh over to the robbers and spoilers, v. 24. The Lord's forsaking His people to the result of forsaking His law and of their trusting in the arm of the flesh is called the fury of his anger, and is likened to setting them on fire.
43:1ff, then the passage of Isa 43:1-7 is given in the midst of the terrible fire of the Lord's wrath being poured out to magnify the law, and make it holy. He has chosen people by name to keep safely in the midst of all the turmoil which is going on.
2) the Lord had given these men special skills. Did they know they had these skills?
3) The context of these two men and others with skill, says nothing about them being willing (cf. vs. 5, 29, &c.), but it certainly says a lot about them being commanded. In other words, if one has skill, they are to use that skill for the Lord whether they feel like it or not. The skillful are commanded!
4) v. 32, to devise courious works... devise: to think, plan, esteem, calculate, invent, make a judgment, imagine, count. courious: thought, device, plan, purpose, invent.
These men were given clear, plain instructions by the Lord God, but they were to think, plan, invent, &c within the guidelines which the word of God established. The commend word of God does not make robots out of us; rather, it establishes a framework in which to freely operate.
5) that he may teach... Two points here.
A) The desire to teach came from the Lord. We see then that with godly skill comes the desire to teach others.
B) The Lord requires that we pass the skills which He has given to us on to others. I know many people who are scarred to death that they might pass on a skill they have to someone else. That is an antichristian attitude.
My pastor used to warn me, "Use it or lose it." If have found this to be very true. The more we use our skills and try to pass on to others what the Lord has given to us, the more He will give to us to pass on. I have found that no matter how much I give to others, there is always more than I can give. Sometimes it seems that the "well is dry," but when I give out the last drop, there is soon much more than I gave out in the first place.
April 20, 1993. I am also noticing that the more I try to apply Christianity into our community (particularly politics), the easier study of Scriptures becomes for me. It seems that the more I am involved in the tax issue and the school issue, the more the word of God opens up to me. I can't hardly read it without points like these 5 so far jumping out at me.
6) v. 35. These were men, not women, that were endowed with skill to embroider and weave. The women did do this work, but the specific, supernatural skill is mentioned in relationship to these men.
This chapter records the practical work of the Spirit of God in the hearts of God's people. His Spirit did not make them more spiritual; rather, the Spirit made God's people willing to give and commanded that they get to work and use their skills for the kingdom work.