Preparations for the Tabernacle
The day I typed this sermon was the day after the tornado on Siesta Key, which was a Sunday. That Sunday I got home and nothing went right with the video work. It didn’t all get done until about 12:30 that night.
Monday morning I was tired and I was frustrated. So much so, that when I was at my morning job cleaning the mall, I could hardly get the mental strength to talk to the Lord about the upcoming sermon. I mumbled my prayer for guidance and help to get through it, and I think I may have mumbled a prayer for a car to run me over and save me from any more life.
When I got home, I thought, “How am I ever going to get through these nine verses with a sermon?” I figured there would be a lot of filler and not much detail. However, despite being hugely tired and saying out loud to the Lord, “I don’t think I can do this today” I began studying.
Where I had begged for relief from the task, I began to beg for relief from any distractions. Every word and every detail pointed to Christ and all I could wish for was more… give me more of You, O Lord. Thanking the Lord for once again surprising me with an overwhelming abundance of detail!
Text Verse: “Let us go into His tabernacle;
Let us worship at His footstool.” Psalm 132:7
Nine short verses that simply won’t wait another moment to be looked into. Let’s skip the fluff and dive right into them. Christ is there… It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. A Willingly Made Offering (verse 1-7)
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
v’dabber Yehovah el Moshe l’mor – “And spoke Yehovah to Moses saying.” The first verse of the chapter is offset as an anticipatory statement. Normally when it says something like, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying…” the same verse will contain at least a portion of what the Lord said. This however is not the case here. Instead, the words are given by themselves.
In this, it makes the chapter a verse longer than it would have otherwise been, and thus the book of Exodus is a verse longer, and so the Bible as a whole is also. Because the obvious patterns which run through Scripture based on the verse divisions, it is always interesting to highlight the offset verses.
In the case of this one, it is the only one to be found in the entire chapter. But even more, it is the main introduction for everything from now until Exodus 30:10. Everything that is recorded between those two verses is one running commentary of instruction from the Lord to Moses.
The record of the Bible is that no break at all is found in the instruction during that period. This then is 197 verses of detailed instructions which Moses was given at one time in order to show us Christ. It is an amazing amount of information, but because it was all given at one time, we will also evaluate it all at one time.
This means that this sermon will last for the next 37 hours without a break. I hope you ate breakfast… Seriously though, these verses through Exodus 30:10, are laid out precisely and with intent. As an overall brushstroke of what lies ahead there, these are the major sections of instructions which are given –
The Offerings of the People for the Tabernacle
The Details for the Construction and Care of the Tabernacle
The Ark of the Testimony and the Mercy SeatThe Table for the Showbread
The Gold Lampstand (meaning the Menorah)
The Tabernacle (the Dwelling place) and the Tent
The Altar of Burnt Offering
The Court of the Tabernacle
The Care of the Lampstand
Garments for the Priesthood
— The Ephod
— The Breastplate
— Other Priestly Garments
The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons
The Daily Offerings
The Altar of Incense
As verse 1 notes, it is the Lord who gives all of the instructions for this dwelling place and all of its associated care. The Book of the Covenant with its main civil, political, and social laws were imparted to Moses who then presented them to Israel. These laws were both moral and judicial in nature. They agreed to them and this was confirmed in the cutting of the covenant and the partaking of the covenant meal.
However, to this point no form of worship, or specified conduct for the necessary religious rites, has been given with the exception of the instructions for the earthen altar. This section begins that process. This will be the ceremonial aspect of the law.
In order to ensure that the people would remember and follow the Lord who had become their God, and to ensure that they would fix their eyes, heart, and attention on Him alone, the instructions that follow are necessary.
They will have a priest to minister, they will have the implements of that priesthood for him to properly do so, and they will have a place where he could effectively conduct the rituals. It should be noted that the design and materials for this ritual worship are all going to be instructed by God, specifically and precisely.
The reason for this is that if it were left to the people to construct the tabernacle and to design all of the associated implements, it wouldn’t properly reflect who He is. The design would be arbitrary and without any real connection to the holiness of the Lord.
Looking at the countless religions of the world, and the often tragic ways in which they worship their gods, it is not surprising that the Lord will give such minute detail for worshipping Him. And this is so important to proper worship that these instructions will be given first in chapters 25-31 as a divine command from the Lord.
Then they will be repeated after they are accomplished to show complete adherence to what was mandated. This will be a historical record of the fulfillment of the command and will comprise most of chapters 35-40.
In New Testament Christianity, there is no such specificity given for the worship of the Lord. There are big churches and little ones. There are ten thousand styles of them, and they meet at whatever time is acceptable to the congregation. The New Testament believer is to worship in Spirit and in truth with very little to instruct us in how to conduct ourselves during the times of worship with the noted exception that our conduct is to be centered on the study, explanation, and application of the Word of God.
Unlike us, however, the minute and precise instructions for tabernacle construction will be given beginning first with the making of the Ark of the Covenant. This is the place where the Lord will manifest Himself to the High Priest. The final instructions in chapter 30 will deal with the altar of incense.
This altar of incense was to stand immediately in front of the Ark. Therefore, the layout of the next 6 chapters is specific and purposeful. As Keil and Delitzsch note –
“The dwelling was erected round Jehovah’s seat, and round this the court. The priests first of all presented the sacrifices upon the altar of burnt-offering, and then proceeded into the holy place and drew near to Jehovah. The highest act in the daily service of the priests was evidently this standing before Jehovah at the altar of incense, which was only separated by the curtain from the most holy place.” Keil and Delitzsch
In Exodus 17, while at Massah and Meribah, the people contended with Moses and tempted the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?” The tabernacle would be a permanent reminder to them that He was, in fact, among them.
And even more, because they were in the wilderness and dwelling in tents, this royal and kingly edifice would likewise be a tent. When they broke down and moved, He would also move with them. This would continue all the way through the time of the judges, and even until the time when Solomon would build a permanent edifice to the Lord.
In the same way, Jesus came and pitched His tent among us. He dwelt as we dwell, He moved as we move, and His tent was not unlike our own. Israel was given instructions for the place where the Lord would dwell and it would only be a reflection of the more perfect tabernacle not made with hands.
Everything about what they would construct was given to testify to the people of Israel that the Lord had made His abode among them. Each aspect of it, from the materials used and the form of construction, to the rituals associated with them, picture the work of the Lord Jesus. In other words, everything that lies ahead testifies to the coming Messiah – the Incarnate Word of God.
This even includes the seemingly unrelated aspect of obtaining the materials for the construction. Though it is true that materials need to be collected in order to build the tabernacle, the fact that they are collected, and from where they have come, are in themselves pictures of Christ.
2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering.
With Moses having ascended to the Lord, the first words recorded here are not “Welcome Moses. Sit down and let’s talk.” Rather they immediately begin with a command to him, “Speak to the children of Israel.” Whatever may have been said prior to this is not the concern of the account.
There are no superfluities recorded here, only precision and determined purpose. And what he is to speak to them concerns an offering. The word is terumah. This is its first of seventy-six uses in the Bible.
It is mostly found in Exodus, Numbers, and Ezekiel, but also in quite a few other books of the Old Testament. It means “a present” (as offered up), especially in sacrifice or as tribute. A terumah can be voluntary or it can be prescribed, but either way it is something that is presented upwards.
It comes from the word rum which means to be high, or exalted. Thus one can see the idea of something being offered up, like and oblation. In the case of this offering, the Lord is requiring it from the people for the purpose of building Him a tent.
From the external appearance of it, it will seem rather mundane. And yet, the interior will be grand, beautiful, and pure. The parallel to Israel should have then been evident. They were a group of people, like any other. And yet, they were to be a grand people, beautiful to God, and pure in their lives and conduct.
As the abode of their King was, so were they to be. And so, the offering is requested of them in the same manner as the offerings of any subjects appearing before their king would be made. They were to bring from their own stores that which would be lifted up as a special gift for this precious dwelling.
And yet, there was nothing compulsory about this particular offering. Unlike a large percentage of the other offerings which will be noted in Scripture, this one was to be wholly voluntary…
2 (con’t) From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.
The Hebrew here reads kal ish asher yidevenu libbow, literally “…of every man whose heart impels him.” This is the first of eighteen times that the word nadav will be used. It means to incite or to impel. It is the kind of willingness that would impel a person to volunteer as a soldier after their country was attacked.
It would also be the type of offering someone would make when a great need arose in a community or a church. They would see the need and their heart would impel them forward to meet the need. This is exactly what the Lord is looking for.
It is the same sentiment that Paul uses in the New Testament concerning one’s giving in church for any reason. In his second letter to the Corinthians, he gives one of only two specific verses concerning giving in our dispensation of grace. There he wrote –
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
There was to be nothing forced upon the people for this most sacred of habitations. Rather, the bestowal of the offerings was solely up to how their heart urged them on. On the giving of the gifts and in the use of them after they have been given, Matthew Henry writes the following –
“The best use we can make of our worldly wealth, is to honour God with it in works of piety and charity. We should ask, not only, What must we do? but, What may we do for God? … What is laid out in the service of God, we must reckon well bestowed; and whatsoever is done in God’s service, must be done by his direction.” Matthew Henry
3 And this is the offering which you shall take from them:
For the third time in just 2 verses, the word terumah, or “offering” is used. The things that are to be presented are an offering or an oblation to the Lord. They are to be willingly given, not demanded, and they are to come from the people.
All things are from the Lord and He could have demanded these things as a compulsory tax, but this was not how it was to be. There will be taxes and other compulsory gifts, but these were to be solely from the heart. And the list begins with three metals.
It is not at all unlikely that there would have been an immense amount of each of these at hand. First, the sheer number of the people meant that if every family had only a little of each metal, it would still add up to an immense amount. These metals would have been accumulated over the centuries, plundered from the Egyptians when they left, and even plundered from the Amelekites during that battle. The named metals are…
3 (con’t) gold,
zahav – Gold is the finest of the biblical metals. In the Bible it spiritually indicates purity and holiness, royalty, and divinity. It is one of two metals that have a natural color which is not silver. Thus it is both a metal and a color, and not surprisingly, both are associated with kingship.
It is precious because of its rarity, and it is valuable. Throughout history it has been used as a basis for monetary systems, and it is the standard by which the value of other things is set. It is also considered an incorruptible metal.
3 (con’t) silver,
v’keseph – “and silver.” Silver is another precious metal which is associated in particular with a major subject of the Bible – redemption. Kespeh comes from another word kasaph which means to “be eager” or to “long for.” Thus we have a hidden pun from Paul’s hand concerning redemption and our longing for it –
“Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23
The root from this state of eagerness means “to become pale.” Thus the color of silver, which is pale, finds its source. Our redemption is something we eagerly await, and in so waiting our countenance is pale, waiting to be filled with the resplendent glory of the Lord.
Throughout history, silver has been used as one of the major mediums of monetary exchange. This is especially evident in biblical history where it is almost synonymous with money. This is so much so that translators quite often translate the word keseph as “money” rather than as “silver.” And in a large portion of these instances, the silver or keseph, is noted in the purchase, or redemption, of people, materials, or objects.
3 (con’t) and bronze;
u-nekhosheth – “and bronze.” The metal here is called bronze, but it refers to copper and its alloys. For example, in Deuteronomy 8:9 using this same word and speaking of the land of Canaan, it says “…a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.”
However, the KJV incorrectly translated that verse as “brass” instead of “copper.” Brass is an alloy and is not dug out of the ground, and it was too early in history for brass to have been a part of the metal making process. Rather, copper is dug from the ground in an impure state and then it is refined to become pure copper, or it is mixed with other elements to become an alloy.
The metals, whether copper, bronze, or brass, get their color from the copper which is the other rare metal that possesses a natural color which is not silver. The nekhosheth, or bronze hasn’t been seen since Genesis 4:22, but it will become a common word from this point on. It mainly symbolizes judgment, but also endurance. Like the other two metals, the symbolism for this will be seen throughout the Bible and in both testaments.
This judgment can be negative, such as in the case of bronze fetters being worn by those who have been sentenced for a crime, or in a pictorial judgment such as that found in the curses of Deuteronomy 28:23 where the punishment for disobeying the Lord is described as “…your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze.” That picture is one of rainless skies, heat, and anguish.
However, the judgment can also be one of purification and justification. This is seen time and time again as well, but one fine example is that of the brazen serpent of Numbers 21. There the people sinned against the Lord and the Lord judged them for it. However, at the same time as bringing judgment upon them, He gave them grace and a chance to be justified by mere faith –
“Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.’ 6 So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, ‘We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” Numbers 21:4-9
Following the literal, spiritual, and pictorial meanings of these metals throughout the Bible, you will find consistency and marvelous pictures of Christ. The same is true with colors…
u-tekeleth – literally, “and blue.” This is the first time that tekeleth or “blue” is mentioned in the Bible. It is believed to come from the word shekheleth, the cerulean mussel. In other words the color obtained from it or that is dyed with it. Blue in the Bible is associated with the law, especially the keeping of the law. This is seen explicitly in Numbers 15 –
“Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. 39 And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, 40 and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God.” Numbers 15:38-40
4 (con’t) purple,
argaman – Again, this is the first use of this word in the Bible. It is purple or blue/red. The color in the Bible, like in many other cultures, is one of royalty or that which pertains to or belongs to a king. As it is a mixture of blue and red, in meaning it thus is a combination of what those two colors mean – the law for blue; and war, blood, and/or judgment for red, as we now see…
4 (con’t) and scarlet thread,
v’towlaat shani – literally, “and from worms red.” Two words here are used to describe the color. The first is towla. This is actually a worm known as the crimson-grub. However, here it is used only in this manner concerning the color from it and cloths dyed with it. The second word is shani which means scarlet.
Taken together, they are translated as “scarlet,” but implying the scarlet which comes from the towla or crimson-grub worm. The double words “implies that to strike this color the wool or cloth was twice dipped” (Clarke). The scarlet, or red, in the Bible pictures and symbolizes war, blood, and/or judgment. All of these colors picture the future work of Christ.
4 (con’t) fine linen,
v’shesh – literally, “and linen.” This is only the second time that shesh has been seen in the Bible. The first was when Joseph, who himself was a marvelous picture of Christ, was clothed in fine linen after interpreting Pharaoh’s prayers and being elevated to his high position in the land. The symbolism of the shesh, or fine linen, is explicitly explained in the book of Revelation –
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give glory to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.” Revelation 19:7, 8 (Jubilee Bible)
Therefore, the linen symbolizes righteousness.
4 (con’t) and goats’ hair;
v’izzim – literally, “and goats’.” It is the plural of the word ez, or female goat. But it is masculine in the plural here to indicate goats’ hair. Hair in the Bible gives us a picture of awareness. Esau was a hairy man and he pictured fallen Adam, aware of sin.
The goat is a picture of punishment of sin. The hairy goat offering was one of the sin offerings, but more so is that goats are only used in sin offerings. Other animals might be used for several offerings, but goats were always for judgment on sin. Therefore, the goat’s hair here pictures awareness of sin and that it will be punished.
5 ram skins dyed red,
v’orot elim me’addamim – literally, “and skins of rams dyed red.” The ram is the leader of the flock and its protector. The protection is seen in its power to butt with its horns which are also a symbol of strength in the Bible. The symbolism we are to see then is that of Christ, the protector of His people.
The verb for “dyed red” or adom, is found 10 times in the Bible. It comes from the idea of being made red, or to show blood in the face. The use of these ram skins dyed red will picture Christ’s covering of our sins. It is explained by the use of adom in Isaiah –
“‘Come now, and let us reason together,’
Says the Lord,
‘Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.'” Isaiah 1:18
After this, Paul explains how this points to Christ in his second letter to the Corinthians –
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
5 (con’t) badger skins,
v’orot tekhashim – literally, “and skins of porpoise.” The word here is takhash and it is always governed by the word oroth, or skins. Therefore it is certainly the hide of an animal. The translation of the KJV and the NKJV of “badgers” is dubious at best.
The badger is rarely, if ever seen in Sinai and it lacks any cognate language support. Rather, this word is cognate to the Arabic word tukhas, or porpoise. Therefore, in modern translations it is normally called the porpoise, the dolphin, or the dugong, which is like a manatee. Thus it would be a light gray to sky-blue covering.
This is the first of 14 times it is used in the Bible and it is always used in connection with the covering for the tabernacle, with but one exception in Ezekiel 16 where it is used to describe figurative sandals worn by Jerusalem. As Bedouins still use the dugong for such sandals even in more modern times, such a sea animal is the most likely translation.
As this skin will be used as the outermost covering of the tabernacle, “the skin of a marine animal like the dolphin would have been eminently suitable, both for its toughness and for its waterproofing properties” (HAW).
As the sea is representative of the world of chaos and confusion and rebellion, this would then make a beautiful picture of Christ’s covering of us from that. This would fit well also with the one non-tabernacle use of this word in Ezekiel concerning the sandals made of this skin. Having such skin for shoes would then infer that the chaos of the sea was under-foot and subdued.
5 (con’t) and acacia wood;
va’atse shittim – literally, “and wood acacias.” This is the first of 28 times that shittah, or acacia wood, is used. Acacia is a very slow growing tree that would be readily available in the area where they were. Its heart wood is dark reddish-brown and it is beautiful when sanded and polished.
It is like cypress in Florida which is resistant to decay because it deposits in its heartwood waste substances which turn into preservatives. This renders it unpalatable to insects. It is also dense and difficult to be penetrated by water and other decaying agents. Thus it is considered an incorruptible wood. Therefore, it pictures the incorruptible nature of Christ’s humanity. This will be seen as the implements for the tabernacle are constructed.
6 oil for the light,
shemen la’maor – the noun shemen, or oil, comes from the verb shamen, which means “to grow fat.” The oil will be used throughout the Bible as a picture of that of the presence of the Spirit. In this case, it would be for spiritual understanding, specifically that which provides illumination.
6 (con’t) and spices for the anointing oil
b’samim l’shemen ha’miskhah – the word bosem, or spice, is introduced into the Bible here and will be used 30 times. It means “fragrance” and so by implication, spicery. It is also the balsam plant, which has a sweet odor. One can hear the similarity in sound – balsam and bosem. These spices would be used for anointing those designated for a particular task.
The spiritual picture is that of the anointing of the Holy Spirit first for Christ’s work and then that which is given to us through Christ’s work. A simple and yet direct verse which shows this is found in Luke 4 –
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; Luke 4:18
6 (con’t) and for the sweet incense;
v’liqtoreth ha’sammim – These two words, qetoreth, or “incense,” and sam, or “fragrant,” are both used for the first time in Scripture. The Bible explicitly explains what incense pictures and therefore we need go no further than what it says –
“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 5:8
This will be further explained as we travel through the instructions from the Lord to Moses.
7 onyx stones,
avne shoham – “stones onyx.” We already met this stone, shoham, once before in Genesis 2:12. We can’t be adamant about what it actually is, but it will be seen a total of 10 times in Scripture.
“Then you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: 10 six of their names on one stone and six names on the other stone, in order of their birth. 11 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. 12 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.” Exodus 28:9-12
These will be explained when we get to that passage.
7 (con’t) and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.
v’avne milluim la’ephod v’lakhoshen – And now we have a few new words once again. The first is millu, or “setting” which is used just 15 times. The stones are to be “set” into place. This word also means “ordination” where someone is “set” into a position. The next is ephod. It’s a word that will be used 49 times. In this case, it means a girdle; specifically the ephod or high-priest’s shoulder-piece, but it also generally means “an image.”
And the last word is khoshen. This is a word which comes from another unused root probably meaning to contain or sparkle, perhaps a pocket; or rich, as containing gems. It is used only of the breastplate of the high priest. It is only seen 23 times in Exodus and twice in Leviticus. These will be explained in detail in those passages.
Christ is there in every detail of the book
Waiting for us to study and show ourselves approved
What a marvel when we open it up and look
How our souls are stirred! How our hearts are moved
Christ is there, it all speaks of Him and His work
What He has done for us was all told in advance
Let us not fail to look for Him, let us not this obligation shirk
Each discovery is like joining in a heavenly dance
Thank You for this marvel, Your precious superior word
It is filled with wonder! It is beautiful and marvelous
Christ is there in every detail; it’s all about our Lord
Yes, every single verse tells us of our Lord Jesus
II. A Sanctuary to Dwell In (verses 8 & 9)
8 And let them make Me a sanctuary,
This is the purpose of everything that has thus far been told to Moses. All of the specifics requested by the Lord as a free-will offering were for the purpose of making a miqdash, or sanctuary.
The miqdash has only been named in a general sense in Exodus 15:17. This was in the Song of Moses and spoke of the sanctuary of the Lord, the place where He dwells, specifically the land of Canaan, but more especially the eternal dwelling place for the saints. Now a specific miqdash is named for construction, and it has a very specific purpose to it…
8 (con’t) that I may dwell among them.
v’shakanti betowkam – “and I will dwell in their midst.”
I said while looking at verse 1 that though it is true that materials needed to be collected in order to build the tabernacle, the fact that they are collected, and from where they have come, are in themselves pictures of Christ.
What I meant is that the same materials which are being used to build this tabernacle found their source in the world, especially Egypt. This was seen at the time of the Exodus –
“So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.” Exodus 3:20-22
The Lord set it up so that Israel could plunder the Egyptians for a specific purpose; so that He could build a tabernacle that He might dwell in their midst. This is exactly what Christ did in His coming. The world of Egypt, as was clearly seen in those sermons, was a picture of the world of sin where fallen man dwells.
In Christ, God plundered from humanity in order to build His greater and eternal Temple where He would dwell, meaning the Person of Jesus Christ. He did it in that Christ came from the stream of humanity. He came through the sinful world of humanity to dwell among us – even though He was without sin. This was just as the tabernacle was built from the land of Egypt, and yet it would be a pure and undefiled place for Him to dwell.
This verse of Exodus 25 is perfectly realized in John 1:14 –
“And the Word became 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.”
And just as incredible, He has now done it from His people who have become living stones in His temple. We were “plundered” as it were from the devil and yet we are being built into a holy temple in which Christ will eternally dwell “in our midst.” Every word we are seeing today is simply a picture of a greater spiritual truth.
*9 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.
Two final new words are introduced into Scripture here. The first is tavnith. This is the first of 20 times it will be used. It comes from banah, to build. It indicates a structure; by implication, a model or resemblance. In these instructions, there will be a pattern or a model for Moses to work with.
The second and final new word of this passage is mishkan, or “tabernacle.” It is the place where the Lord will “dwell” or “tabernacle” among His people. As we continue to see the details for its construction, we will need to continuously remind ourselves that what we are seeing is a picture of our Lord in a physical representation.
If we can remember this, then we must be certain that every single detail will point to Him and His ministry. We need to treat the coming passages as carefully and meticulously as we have these nine verses today, understanding that we are being given pictures of the greatest glory we could ever imagine.
It goes unstated how Moses was shown what to make. Whether he was shown something as if an artist’s drawing, whether it was with a sculptured model, whether it was impressed upon his mind supernaturally, or even if he was given a glimpse at what these things actually picture, it is unknown.
What the Bible does tell us is that he saw a pattern. This is confirmed by Stephen’s words in Acts 7:44. And what the Bible tells us further is that there is a reason for the specificity. It is explained to us in Hebrews 8 –
“For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.'” Hebrews 8:3-5
These minute details are given because the mishkan, or tabernacle, is a copy and a shadow of the heavenly things. The precision was needed because it deals with the very dwelling place of the Lord in heaven. Let’s close with a splendid thought concerning this detail from the pen of Joseph Benson –
“When Moses was to describe the creation of the world, though it be such a stately and curious fabric, yet he gave a very short and general account of it; but when he comes to describe the tabernacle, he doth it with the greatest niceness and accuracy imaginable; for God’s church and instituted religion are more precious to him than all the rest of the world. And all the Scriptures were written, not to describe to us the works of nature, (a general view of which is sufficient to lead us to a knowledge of the Creator,) but to acquaint us with the methods of grace, and those things which are purely matters of revelation.” Joseph Benson
It should go without saying that God really wants us to see His Son in every detail of what He has given to us in Scripture. As this is so, wouldn’t we be wise to search Him out while He can be found by us? We don’t know our last moment. It could be fifty years away or five minutes from now.
Let us use our time wisely and search out Christ who alone can reconcile us to our Creator. If you have never taken the simple step of receiving Him as Savior, I would pray that today would be the day. Let me tell you how you can be sure of a heavenly home with Him who is pictured by the many details we’ve seen here…
Closing Verse: “How lovely is Your tabernacle,
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 84:1, 2
Next Week: Exodus 25:10-22 It’s made of wood and gold, not of stoney… (The Ark of the Testimony) (68th Exodus Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
A Willingly Made Offering
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
These are the words to Moses he then was relaying
“Speak to the children of Israel
That they bring Me an offering
From everyone who gives it willingly, this I tell
From his heart he shall make My proffering
And this is the offering
Which you shall take from them, so I have said:
Gold, silver, and bronze
Blue, purple, and scarlet thread
Fine linen, and goats’ hair too
Ram skins dyed red, badger skins
And acacia wood; this you shall do
Oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil
And for the sweet incense; for the perfumer’s toil
Onyx stones, and stones to be set
In the ephod and in the breastplate
These you shall not forget
And let them a sanctuary make Me
That I may dwell among them, so shall it be
According to all that I show you
That is, the pattern of the tabernacle, one that is fit
And the pattern of all its furnishings
Just so you shall make it
The Lord gave instructions for the tabernacle
So that He could dwell among the children of Israel
And He requested from them the offering
So that of their hearts He could tell
Would they give the best of all that they had?
Would they bring for Him these things He noted
It would only be right for them to provide these
Because upon them His affection He had doted
And so it should be with us
Each of us should give of our very best
For God gave His Son, our Lord Jesus
And so let us not fall short in our test
Let us give of our time, our abilities, and our treasure
And let us be willing to do so, even without measure
For He is a great God, and so let us to Him our voices raise
And let us give to Him the best of our lives as an offering of praise
Hallelujah and Amen…