Exodus 39:1-43 (And Moses Blessed Them)

Exodus 39:1-43
And Moses Blessed Them

Today’s passage is like the past few. It deals with the actual work which was accomplished in accord with the details which had previously been given. Therefore, like those past few sermons, we will find a parallel thought to look over which relates to the work being conducted rather than minutely analyzing the verses as we already have.

As the verses today deal with the garments of the priesthood, it would be good to look at how those garments actually demonstrate the inferiority of the Law of Moses and the priesthood of Aaron, to that of the covenant given in Christ’s blood which is administered by the priesthood of the Lord.

It should never be our intent to find fault in the Law of Moses in the sense that it was an inappropriate aspect of God’s workings in the dispensations of time. And yet, the author of Hebrews says concerning this law, “ For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.”

What then was faulty concerning the covenant, if not the covenant itself? The answer is, the human aspect of it. It was administered by a fallible man, its priesthood was carried out by fallible men, and the people under the law were never made perfect by the law itself. Paul tells us in Romans that “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.”

However, because man is fallen, the law can only highlight our sin, it was never intended to remove it by our efforts. Rather, it was given to show us that we needed something more. The law could remove our sin, but only in its fulfillment. And that could only come about by One who had no sin of His own. Enter Jesus. It is He whose work was needed in order for the law to make us holy…

Text Verse: “Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:16, 17

Only after Christ fulfilled the law could the work of our hands be established. And only through the administration of a New Covenant, in the mediation of a better High Priest, can we hope to please God. Thank God for Christ Jesus who does all of this for us! Yes, 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 Better Priesthood (verses 1-31)

The idea of a priest is that of someone who has authority to perform religious ceremonies on behalf of himself and others. The first actual mentioning of a priest in the Bible is that of the mysterious Melchizedek in Genesis 14 –

“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said:
‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
20 And blessed be God Most High,
Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.’
And he gave him a tithe of all.” Genesis 14:19, 20

This is all that is recorded here about this mysterious man. There were certainly priests since the time after the fall. Adam would have performed the function on behalf of his family, but the idea of a priest who administered on behalf of others is really only first seen in Melchizedek. This Melchizedek is reintroduced into the Bible in the 110th Psalm where David reaches back into the words of Genesis and makes a prophecy based on a most profound deduction; certainly inspired by the Spirit of God –

“The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.’” Psalm 110:4

David foresaw a Person who would come who would be a priest forever, and he explains this with the words “according to the order of Melchizedek.” One would have to be extremely astute to understand all that this simple sentence means.

In fact, even with a detailed explanation of it in the book of Hebrews, people still often fail to grasp the full significance of David’s amazingly deep, and yet short and simple proclamation. This is the only other time in all of the Old Testament that Melchizedek is mentioned.

And of course this is proper because the Law of Moses had a priest, it had a priesthood, and it also had a place where the priests were to minister. Along with that, the priests had all of their duties and responsibilities laid out. For the law of Moses, and the Aaronic priesthood which served that law, Leviticus details the majority of their responsibilities.

And, inclusive of all of these other things, the garments of the high priest, and his associate priests, are all given in minute detail here in the book of Exodus. The law is given, the sanctuary along with all of its furniture is described, and so it is natural that the ordination process for the priests, and the garments of the priests, are described at this time now as well.

Those priestly garments were called for by the Lord, and now their actual manufacture is detailed in obedience to the Lord’s word. This is the purpose of verses 1-31 of this chapter. The significance of these things, and their amazing prophetic pictures of Christ, were explained in several sermons already, and to understand their meaning, you can go back and read or watch them. It truly is an astonishing study which would be well worth your time.

And so as far as the Aaronic priesthood, it has been called for, it is being prepared, and it will be fully ordained and established in the pages ahead. Most of the duties of that priesthood will be minutely described in Leviticus. This priesthood will last about 1500 years.

It was superseded by the greater priesthood of Christ Jesus, but it still continued until AD70 when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the people were exiled. Amazingly, and in fulfillment of Scripture, this same priestly line has been identified through modern DNA analysis, and people of that line today are being prepared for reinstating this ancient priesthood.

A high priest has already been selected, and the garments and associated implements necessary for conducting their duties have been fashioned. Though this priesthood is obsolete through the work of Christ, God has shown that it would, in fact, be reinstated for a set period and for a specific reason. That is detailed in Daniel 9.

In verse 24 of Daniel 9, it says that a period of 70 “weeks,” or periods of 7-year intervals, would lay out the entire future prophetic scenario for the completion of the time of the Law of Moses, including its priesthood. That then is a 490-year period. Until the time of Christ’s death, it was a period of 483 years.

At that time, the prophetic calendar was stopped. The temple sacrifices were no longer acceptable to God, and as I said, the temple was destroyed in AD70, exactly 14,000 days after the cross of Christ. That, however, still leaves a 7-year period left unfulfilled. It says in Daniel 9:26 that the city and the sanctuary would be destroyed, but then in Daniel 9:27 it says this –

“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.”

If there are sacrifices and offerings noted after the death of the Messiah, and the further destruction of the temple in AD70, then it means that verse 27 is speaking of a future date when they will be reinstated. It is future to us now, but it won’t be long before it comes about. We are living in extraordinarily exciting times as the fulfillment of Bible prophecy is being realized before our eyes.

All of what we are seeing now in the re-establishment of this Aaronic priesthood goes back to these passages in the book of Exodus, including the details of the garments we are looking at today. Observant Jews in Israel need only to pick up a copy of the Bible and read what we are looking in this passage in Exodus in order to know what to make and how to make it.

But, because these things only pointed to Christ, and because David spoke of a priesthood on the order of Melchizedek which was to come, and because Jeremiah spoke of a New Covenant for Israel, and finally… because we have already seen an explanation for all of the things in this passage today in past sermons, we will look at what actually replaces Aaron’s priesthood, and why the efforts of Israel in reestablishing the priesthood are only a stepping stone to the final termination of the Law of Moses.

As I said, David made that seemingly off-handed reference to Melchizedek in the 110th Psalm. Unless you stop and really contemplate it, you might just keep on reading without ever giving a second thought to what he says. But the author of Hebrews was determined to explain what we might so cursorily pass by.

And so he re-introduces this Melchizedek in Hebrews 5, and then he talks of him briefly in chapter 6 and more especially in chapter 7, explaining why he is such an important figure. Here is what he says in Hebrews 5 –

“So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him:
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.’
As He also says in another place:
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek’;
who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” 11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” Hebrews 5:5-11

The author directly quotes David’s words of the 110th Psalm and explicitly tells us that these words are speaking of Jesus. David, under inspiration of the Spirit, wrote words of a coming High Priest. However, that His priesthood would be according to the order of Melchizedek brings in some obvious problems. They will be explained by him as he goes along.

In Hebrews 6, the author speaks of the immutability of God’s promises, and the surety we have therefore in the oath of God, noting that God cannot lie. In this, he is referring to the word of the Lord through David concerning the High Priest to come. Remember what the Lord said through David in Psalm 110 –

“The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.’” Psalm 110:4

To close out chapter 6 of Hebrews, and to prepare us for his detailed explanation in chapter 7, the author states these words –

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19, 20

The hope of God is in the oath of God, and in His trustworthiness in fulfilling that oath. This hope is that Jesus is the coming High Priest that David spoke of, a high priest forever. What is he talking about? Chapter 7 of Hebrews explains it, and we will look over his words, but we can only do so briefly. A full evaluation of what he says would take innumerable pages of commentary.

As we proceed, remember why we are even looking at the passage. It is because we are currently going through Exodus and are evaluating those things which are a part of the establishment of the Aaronic priesthood. Was this to be a permanent priesthood? If so, then there would be no need for Jesus.

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. Hebrews 7:1-3

The author notes the name and positions of Melchizedek. He is the king of Salem and the priest of the Most High God. He doesn’t question or dispute this. He is speaking of a real person, who really filled the offices of both king and priest, something not allowed under the Law of Moses. Under the law, the two offices were not to be mixed. When someone attempted to mix them, bad things resulted. One such account is recorded about King Uzziah –

“But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the Lord—valiant men. 18 And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the Lord God.”
19 Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the incense altar. 20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the Lord had struck him.
21 King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 26:16-21

The next thing the author of Hebrews notes is that he filled this king/priest role at the time of Abraham. Thus, Melchizedek precedes both the priesthood of Aaron and the kingship of Israel, typified by David who wrote the 110th Psalm. Next, he explains the meaning of his name and title – Melchizedek is from melek, or “king,” and tsaddiq, or “righteous.” He is further melek shalem, or “king of peace.” Thus, in both titles, he typifies Christ.

But he further typifies Christ in that the Bible gives no record of his genealogy, birth, or death. Because of this, his priesthood is considered an eternal one. This doesn’t mean it literally is, but that in record, this is all that God wanted us to know in order to make the typological picture of the Lord.

Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. Hebrews 7:4-10

The point here is to show the superiority of Melchizedek’s priesthood over that of Aaron. Aaron descended from Levi who came from Jacob who came from Isaac who came from Abraham. Greatness within the Bible is reflected in the preceding generation. Thus a father is considered greater than the son. Abraham is the father of the Hebrew people and is thus the greatest of that race.

However, Abraham gave a tenth of his spoils to Melchizedek, demonstrating that Melchizedek was the greater. This is supported by the subsequent blessing of Abraham by Melchizedek. The greater blesses the lesser. Levi received tithes from Israel, and the Aaronic priesthood, administered by the sons of Levi, therefore is said to have paid tithes through Abraham to Melchizedek.

The reason for this is that Levi was still in Abraham’s loins when Abraham presented his offering to Melchizedek. It is the same concept as the transfer of original sin. Charlie Garrett was in the loins of Adam when Adam sinned. Thus, I have sinned through Adam, just as Levi paid tithes through Abraham.

And so we have established several things already about Melchizedek. He is a king and a priest; something greater than that belonging to the priesthood of the law which was separated from kingship under the law. He also preceded the priesthood of the law, and yet his priesthood is, from a biblical context, still in effect; it is eternal. The Aaronic priesthood had a beginning when the law was introduced. It also had an ending with the establishment of the New Covenant. Therefore, the priesthood of Melchizedek is greater in this respect.

Further, Melchizedek is typical of the Son of God because he has no recorded genealogy. Thus, his priesthood is greater than that of the law which was administered through Moses and which began with the man Aaron – both of whose births and deaths are recorded. Also, because Melchizedek is shown to be greater than Abraham, and Abraham is greater than Levi, then the priesthood of Melchizedek is also greater than that of the priesthood of Levi.

David said that someone was coming who would have a priesthood on the order of Melchizedek. Thus, this coming priesthood would be greater than that of Aaron in each of these respects. To support this, the author now asks an obvious question…

11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. Hebrews 7:11-13

The author now brings in the idea of making subjects of the law perfect. Did this occur? The answer is, “No.” If people were made perfect through the law, then offerings would have been made one time and they would have ended.

But they never ceased. They were offered continuously, and year after year. They only made people aware of their sin, but never could remove the sin. Instead, they only temporarily covered them until the next offering for sin.

But even more, if the people were made perfect under the law, there would be no need for another priesthood. But David promised that someone coming would be a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. Why would there be a need for such a priesthood if the priesthood of Aaron sufficed in perfecting the people? There would be none. But David proclaimed differently.

And if there was to be a change in priesthood, then there – by default – must be a change of the law. The law already had a priesthood. In fact, the two were dependent on one another. If the priesthood ended, so would the law which mandated the priesthood. And if the law which mandated the priesthood ended, then the priesthood mandated by the law would be of no effect.

And even more yet. These things are being written about Jesus. But Jesus was not of the line of Levi, and therefore, He could not be an administrator of the law of Moses which prescribed that the priesthood was of Levi. Jesus descended from another tribe…

14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies:
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
Hebrews 7:14-17

The author’s logic is impeccable. David spoke of a priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek. That priesthood is fulfilled in Christ. But Christ descended from Judah. Therefore, there must be a change in regards to the law itself. This is not a change in the law, but a change of law.

And this law which He will administer is not one according to a high priest who will die and be replaced with another, but it is one according to the order of Melchizedek who has no recorded death, and thus it is an eternal life designed for an eternal priesthood.

18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him:
“The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek’”),
22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. Hebrews 7:18-22

If Christ’s priesthood is in effect, which it is clearly established that it is, then the former commandment, meaning the Law of Moses, is annulled. It was weak and unprofitable because it could save no one. It couldn’t even save its own high priest, whose death is recorded. After him, each subsequent high priest died as well.

However, in Christ, there is an indestructible life and a better hope which accompanies the covenant which He administers. It is a hope by which we can, through Him, draw near to God. And again, the author uses impeccable logic in telling us that the first covenant came without an oath concerning the ordination of the priests. They were appointed, served, and died. However, the words of David, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and thus coming from God who cannot lie, are spoken by oath –

“The Lord has sworn
And will not relent,
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek’”

Thus again, the superiority of the priesthood of Christ is evidenced. In all ways, His priesthood is “Better than.”

23 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. 24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:22-25

The garments which were made for Aaron, and which are exactingly detailed in today’s verses from Exodus, were transferred from high priest to high priest. When Aaron died, the transfer was noted, thus setting the pattern for all future sons of Aaron who filled this position –

“And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom, saying: 24 “Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up to Mount Hor; 26 and strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; for Aaron shall be gathered to his people and die there.” 27 So Moses did just as the Lord commanded, and they went up to Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain.” Numbers 20:23-28

The importance of recording this act cannot be understated. Aaron died, and the garments of his priesthood passed on to his son. Aaron was prevented, by death, from continuing in his priesthood. Thus the line of priesthood remained, but the occupant of that priesthood was changed. The garments of the priesthood were a profound testament to the fallible nature of the priesthood. They stood as a witness that the law could perfect none.

However, Christ died in fulfillment of the law. At the same time, He offered a New Covenant in His blood. In His death, the law died with Him. It could no longer have any possible power over Him. And yet, He never sinned under the law. As the wages of sin is death, then death could also not hold Him. It was impossible for Him to remain dead. Peter testifies to this fact in Acts 2.

Christ died apart from His garments, as is recorded in Scripture, and thus it is the Man, and not the garments which are the focus of His priesthood. Under the law, it was the garments and not the man which was the focus of the priesthood. Aaron was not considered fully ordained to the priesthood until he was clothed in the priestly garments. When his tenure as priest ended, his garments were removed from him, and then he died – in that order.

And so we see that in Christ’s resurrection, it is to Jesus, and not changeable garments which our eyes are to be directed. The garments He wears now merely signify His eternal priesthood which already exists in His eternal Being.

He is risen apart from the law; He can never die again. Aaron died and his ministry ended. Christ lives eternally and therefore He continues forever in an unchangeable priesthood. Because of this, the author tells us that Christ can save us to the uttermost when we come to God through Him. Paul explains this in Romans 6 –

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” Romans 6:8-10

As He lives to God, He always lives to make intercession for us. He is perfectly qualified to do so as the author next explains…

26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever. Hebrews 20:26-28

Christ has been, as it says, “perfected forever.” This doesn’t mean that He was not “forever perfect,” but that under the law and as a Man, if He had sinned He would not have been perfect, nor could He have been “perfected forever.” But, He was sinless before the law and died in fulfillment of it. Thus, the law now has no power over Him. He is, therefore, perfected forever. He can never be found with fault under the law again. In Him, the law is annulled.

Unlike the high priests of Israel who had to first offer for their own sins, and only then could they offer for the sins of the people, Christ offered Himself in His perfection before the law, for the sins of the people. What the high priest of the Law of Moses could never do for the people, Christ has done for His people.

If you wonder why there has been such minute detail concerning the garments of the priests of the law, hopefully you are now seeing why that detail is so important. In type and picture, each detail points to Christ, but in reality when worn by the human mediator of the law, it pointed all the more to his imperfections, not his perfections. Only in Christ are the perfections realized. As a side note to the idea of priests, the last time the term is mentioned is in Revelation 20 with these words –

“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6

Those who willingly refuse the mark of the beast during the tribulation period will be granted a high honor. They will be raised to life and can never die again, and they will be priests of God and of Christ during that marvelous millennial period. It is fitting that the idea of a priesthood enters Scripture with the enigmatic Melchizedek, who pictures Christ, and it ends with those who are made priests through faith in the work of Christ.

The LORD has sworn and will not relent
You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek, with that intent
Christ is our High Priest, ceasing never

With Him as our High Priest
We have a sure confidence. Imagine the grace!
His mercies are forever, never being ceased
Though Him we are shown the favor of God’s face

Thank God for our High Priest, Christ Jesus
And for the work that He has done and continues to do
The beautiful work that He has done for us
Our great High Priest, ever faithful and true

II. So the Children of Israel Did All the Work (verses 32-43)

With the final verse of chapter 39, the long repetition of the verses from the previous chapters is ended. The instructions were given, and the instructions were followed through with – being meticulously recorded as evidence of that fact. And so now we come to the final verses of the chapter…

32 Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished.

The minute details of the previous chapter find their culmination in this verse. First, the work is said to be finished. Two descriptions are given. It says mishkan ohel moed – tabernacle, tent of meeting. The tabernacle is the dwelling place, and the tent is what covers the dwelling place. The two are noted separately and yet belonging one to the other, almost as a pleonasm intended as emphasis. The two will be mentioned separately in verse 33.

32 (con’t) And the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses; so they did.

The second aspect of this verse is that the work was not only accomplished, but it was done “according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses.” This takes us back 34 sermons to the words of the Lord in Exodus 25:40 which said “…see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.” Just as Moses was shown, just as the people were instructed, so the work was accomplished.

33 And they brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all its furnishings: its clasps, its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets; 34 the covering of ram skins dyed red, the covering of badger skins, and the veil of the covering; 35 the ark of the Testimony with its poles, and the mercy seat; 36 the table, all its utensils, and the showbread; 37 the pure gold lampstand with its lamps (the lamps set in order), all its utensils, and the oil for light; 38 the gold altar, the anointing oil, and the sweet incense; the screen for the tabernacle door; 39 the bronze altar, its grate of bronze, its poles, and all its utensils; the laver with its base; 40 the hangings of the court, its pillars and its sockets, the screen for the court gate, its cords, and its pegs; all the utensils for the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of meeting; 41 and the garments of ministry, to minister in the holy place: the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and his sons’ garments, to minister as priests.

These verses confirm in one place all of that which was made. The only word of exceptional note in all nine verses is that which is translated as “set in order” in verse 37. It is a new word in the Bible, maarakah. It means an array, and is most commonly used in the idea of a battle array, where an army is lined up for war.

The lamps of the Menorah were so set up, as if a battle of the goodness of light is dispelling the evil of darkness. What a marvelous picture of Christ the Lord, the Light of the world shining forth through the darkness.

42 According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did all the work.

This is a reaffirmation of the words just spoken in the second clause of verse 32. It noted they did what was commanded, then what was done was noted, and now it again notes that they have done all that was commanded. In six months or less, all of this work was engaged in, and completed, according to the minute specifications of the Lord. It really is an amazing feat to consider.

43 Then Moses looked over all the work, and indeed they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, just so they had done it.

The chapter’s final verse shows that Moses inspected every detail. He had been shown the pattern on the mountain, and he had been admonished to follow it exactingly. The directions were given, the work was accomplished, and now the chief inspector carefully evaluated each item to ensure that it met the requirements of the Lord. As it did, the record now, for the third time, notes that the children of Israel accomplished the tasks as required. With that note of achievement, we come to our final words of the chapter…

*43 (fin) And Moses blessed them.

It is possible that Moses blessed the people with the words of the 90th Psalm which formed our text verse of the day.

“Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:16, 17

Whether with these, or other words of commendation, the leader of the people was pleased with the work and he so blessed them for their efforts. The tabernacle was ready, the law would be continued, and the Lord would dwell in the people’s midst. Moses’ blessing now was an affirmation of these facts.

Today we have seen that the law was only a stepping stone to the greater work of Christ. If the law was served by such marvelous items, and was regarded with such minute detail and care, then surely how much more precise and glorious is the greater ministry of Christ for us!

Again, if the Lord was willing to dwell among the people in a sanctuary wrought by fallible hands and corruptible materials which were glorious non-the-less, just imagine the splendor which lies ahead for those who are in Christ.

The people labored towards the day when the Lord would occupy His dwelling. How much more willing should we be to labor towards the day when we will dwell with Him! Let us never tire in our efforts to speak of the goodness of the Lord. And whatever be the labor of our hands, may the beauty of the Lord Jesus be upon us so those labors will be established. Let it be so now, and even until the Lord takes us home to be with Him in His eternal dwelling place.

Closing Verse: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58

Next Week: Matthew 1:18 We have permission to deviate from Exodus, yes the holiday does clear it… (She Was Found with Child Through the Holy Spirit)

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.

The Work is Accomplished

Of the blue, purple, and scarlet thread
They made garments of ministry
For ministering in the holy place
As the Lord intended it to be

And made the holy garments for Aaron as well
As the LORD had commanded Moses, as He did tell

He made the ephod
Of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread
And of fine woven linen
He followed the details, as the Lord had said

And they beat the gold into thin sheets
And cut it into threads as well also
To work it in with the blue, purple, and scarlet thread
And the fine linen, into artistic designs, as we now know

They made shoulder straps
For it to couple it together; as we see
It was coupled together at its two edges
Thus it was made accordingly

And the intricately woven band of his ephod
That was on it was of the same workmanship as well
Woven of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread
And of fine woven linen, as the LORD to Moses did tell

And they set onyx stones
Enclosed in settings of gold so well
They were engraved, as signets are engraved
With the names of the sons of Israel

He put them on the shoulders of the ephod
As memorial stones for the sons of Israel
As the LORD had commanded Moses
As the LORD to Moses did tell

And he made the breastplate
Artistically woven like the workmanship of the ephod
Of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread
And of fine woven linen, just as he was showed

They made the breastplate square by doubling it
When doubled, a span was its length and a span its width

And they set in it four rows of stones
This as the Lord did show
A row with a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald
Such was the first row

The second row, a turquoise, a sapphire, and a diamond
The third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst
The fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper
They were enclosed in settings of gold in their mountings
No detail was missed

There were twelve stones according to the names
Of the sons of Israel
According to their names
Engraved like a signet, as well

Each one with its own name, certainly
According to the twelve tribes, as we see

And they made chains for the breastplate
At the ends, like braided cords of pure gold
This as the Lord did state

They also made two settings of gold and two gold rings
And put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate
He accomplished each of these things

And they put the two braided chains
Of gold in the two rings
On the ends of the breastplate
Again, he faithfully accomplished these things

The two ends of the two braided chains
They fastened in the two settings, as the Lord did relay
And put them on the shoulder straps
Of the ephod in the front, just as He did say

And they made two rings of gold
And put them on the two ends of the breastplate, as showed
On the edge of it, as he was told
Which was on the inward side of the ephod

They made two other gold rings
And put them on the two shoulder straps, as per directions at hand
Underneath the ephod toward its front
Right at the seam above the ephod’s intricately woven band

And they bound the breastplate
By means of its rings to the ephod’s rings
With a blue cord, so that it would be above
The intricately woven band of the ephod, he did these things

And so the breastplate would not come loose from the ephod
As the LORD had to Moses showed

He made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue
Doing exactly as he was instructed to do

And there was an opening in the middle of the robe
Like the opening in a coat of mail
With a woven binding all around the opening
So that it would not tear; there was to be no wardrobe fail

They made on the hem of the robe pomegranates, so they did do
Of blue, purple, and scarlet, and of fine woven linen too

And they made bells of pure gold
And put the bells with the pomegranates between
On the hem of the robe all around between the pomegranates
A beautiful design upon the hem was seen

A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate
All around the hem, as the directions demanded
Of the robe to minister in
As the LORD had to Moses commanded

They made tunics, artistically woven
Of fine linen for Aaron and his sons, this they did do|
A turban of fine linen, exquisite hats of fine linen
Short trousers of fine woven linen too

And a sash of fine woven linen
With blue, purple, and scarlet thread
Made by a weaver, as the LORD had commanded Moses
Yes, just as the LORD had said

Then they made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold
And wrote on it an inscription, attending to the word
Like the engraving of a signet

And they tied to it a blue cord
To fasten it above on the turban
As commanded to Moses by the LORD

Thus all the work of the tabernacle
Of the tent of meeting was finished too
And the children of Israel did according to all
That the LORD had commanded Moses; so they did do

And they brought the tabernacle to Moses
The tent and all its furnishings, as we know
Its clasps, its boards, its bars
Its pillars, and its sockets also

The covering of ram skins dyed red
The covering of badger skins
And the veil of the covering; just as the Lord had said

The ark of the Testimony with its poles
And the mercy seat
The table, all its utensils, and the showbread
These pieces they did complete

The pure gold lampstand with its lamps, it was fitted right
(The lamps set in order)
All its utensils, and the oil for light

The gold altar, the anointing oil, and the sweet incense
The screen for the tabernacle door
The bronze altar, its grate of bronze, its poles, and all its utensils
The laver with its base also, but still even more

The hangings of the court, its pillars and its sockets
The screen for the court gate, its cords, and its pegs as well
All the utensils for the service of the tabernacle
For the tent of meeting, as the word does tell

And the garments of ministry
To minister in the holy place
The holy garments for Aaron the priest
And his sons’ garments, to minister as priests before the LORD’s face

According to all that the LORD had commanded Moses
So the children of Israel did all the work
Then Moses looked over all the work
And indeed they had done it, not a detail did they shirk

As the LORD had commanded, just so they had done it
And Moses blessed them; a blessing he did to them submit

Lord God, establish the work of our hands
And let the beauty of the Lord be upon us
So may it be for each who understands
Of the marvelous wonder of Christ Jesus

Thank You O God, to You we send our highest shouts of praise
And they shall be lifted to You now, and even for eternal days

Hallelujah and Amen…

Exodus 38:9-31 (The Always Evident Lord)

Exodus 38:9-31
The Always Evident Lord

As with the previous few passages, the majority of the verses today have been covered, almost exactly, in earlier sermons. And so once again, we will follow a different path as to how we can approach these already familiar words.

I titled this “The Always Evident Lord” because the courtyard was visible to any who passed by. Even from the outside, and without peering into the courtyard itself, a person could make many deductions about what went on inside the sanctuary by simply sitting outside and watching the daily activities.

If they were astute enough, they might even be able to put together more than initially meets the eye. The larger portion of those who were in Israel completely missed the Always Evident Lord, Jesus. He was there among them, everything He did was in fulfillment of the very words of Scripture that they listened to each Sabbath day, and His words proclaimed ever-so clearly who He was… and yet they missed Him. They are still missing Him to this day.

And yet, there are innumerable multitudes who have taken the time to open their eyes, compare the words of Scripture which have been presented to them about Jesus, find Him, and even come to know Him in such a detailed way that they understand Him better than the Jews understood the symbolism of their own temple. After all, if one understands the Person, they should be able to understand what the shadows which only pointed to Him mean.

Today, we’ll take a trip down the streets of Israel to the place where the sanctuary of the Lord stood. When there, we will contemplate its outer courts and what occurred there to see if we can find out anything about the God who resided there. If we can learn something about Him, then we might be able to find out how to approach Him.

Text Verse: Oh, that I knew where I might find Him,
That I might come to His seat! Job 23:3

Job wanted to know where he might find the Lord. A person walking along the streets in Israel might be curious about the edifice he passed by where the Lord God of Israel dwelt. If so, he might stop and ask some questions about the unusual edifice.

From there, he might decide to stay awhile and observe the goings on at that special place. If so, he might come across the answer to the dilemma that Job faced. If we know where He is, we might be able to determine how to come to His seat.

For us, the place has been described in detail, the way there has been explained, and the means by which we can take that way there is fully revealed. This is the infinite value of the Holy Bible. It explains where the infinite God resides, it explains the bridge between finite us and infinite Him, and it explains the means by which that bridge is made available. Further, the duration of our journey to know Him fully will be an infinite one.

We have this treasure right next to us and available to us. It is finite in size, and yet its value and its worth are infinite. Such is the marvel and the wonder of this 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. The Always Evident Lord (verses 9-20)

Then he made the court on the south side; the hangings of the court were of fine woven linen, one hundred cubits long. 10 There were twenty pillars for them, with twenty bronze sockets. The hooks of the pillars and their bands were silver. 11 On the north side the hangings were one hundred cubits long, with twenty pillars and their twenty bronze sockets. The hooks of the pillars and their bands were silver. 12 And on the west side there were hangings of fifty cubits, with ten pillars and their ten sockets. The hooks of the pillars and their bands were silver. 13 For the east side the hangings were fifty cubits. 14 The hangings of one side of the gate were fifteen cubits long, with their three pillars and their three sockets, 15 and the same for the other side of the court gate; on this side and that were hangings of fifteen cubits, with their three pillars and their three sockets. 16 All the hangings of the court all around were of fine woven linen. 17 The sockets for the pillars were bronze, the hooks of the pillars and their bands were silver, and the overlay of their capitals was silver; and all the pillars of the court had bands of silver. 18 The screen for the gate of the court was woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and of fine woven linen. The length was twenty cubits, and the height along its width was five cubits, corresponding to the hangings of the court. 19 And there were four pillars with their four sockets of bronze; their hooks were silver, and the overlay of their capitals and their bands was silver. 20 All the pegs of the tabernacle, and of the court all around, were bronze.

The courtyard of the sanctuary was the part which was evident to all the people. From outside, people knew that there was a structure which had a set and specific purpose. It would be unique, and thus it would bring the curious to wonder about it. And certainly this is the intent of what we know it pictures.

A simple question by anyone could be asked of those who went in and out as to what its purpose was. And a simple answer was all that was needed to explain the overall purpose of it –

“Excuse me, Sir, what kind of dwelling is this?” “It is the dwelling of the God of Israel, the true God. What you see is only the outer courtyard, and above the outer court hangings you can see the top of the tent where He dwells.”

This exterior view would be available to both Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free man. Any who were curious about what they saw needed only to ask. And if they were shy, they could make logical deductions about what it was and what its purpose was.

But it is speculated that the outer hangings themselves would allow a bit more to be seen. The word which describes the hangings indicates “a hanging,” but also a sling for slinging stones as if the hangings were loosely woven. That doesn’t tell us much, but the Greek translation of it indicates a sail. Because of this, it is believed by some scholars to be a fabric which was woven in such a way that the inside of the court could be seen through it.

And so we have here an edifice which would attract attention to itself, but not in an ostentatious manner. It would then at times make those outside curious enough to see more. They would long to peer in and see what was so special about this “God of Israel.”

Even from the outside, it would be evident that there was order and harmony here. There would also be a great deal of diversity. From the outside, without even peering in, there would be various materials evident to the eye. White fabric; bronze bases; poles of metal or wood; silver hooks, pillars and bands; and the front screen would have been a beautiful mixture of colors.

Surely the person curious about the exterior would want to know more about the interior. And so they might get closer in order to let their peering eyes gaze through the outer hangings and into the courtyard itself. What they would see then is the extent of the always-evident Lord. Other things would be concealed, but everything facing out into the courtyard would be evident.

And this is what the world around us pictures still. There is a world, filled with people, who know nothing about the true God as He has specifically revealed Himself. They go about life unknowing, and therefore, normally uncaring. It isn’t that they don’t necessarily care about the things of God, but one cannot truly care about something they have no comprehension of.

You certainly don’t care a thing about the planet Gypsar which is in the Tulovian galaxy because you have never heard of it. But if you knew of the marvelous treasures that were there, you would read all about it. Until someone sees the sanctuary, they can never care about what the sanctuary pictures, nor would they care about the God who resides in it.

God to them is simply a god of whatever their traditions, culture, or their minds have established. And so when the Lord designed the tabernacle, He did it in such a way that any passerby would be curious, hopefully even tantalized, to know more about Him.

As this sanctuary in every detail pictures Christ, as we well know, then it must be comparable to how Christ is evident to the world today. There is the edifice, there are the priests coming in and going out, and there are also common people coming and going.

Along with the entries and exits of the people, there would be animals being brought in alive, and none exiting alive. Any person, sitting for a spell and watching the activity, would be able to make conclusions about what they were seeing.

The people go in with a lamb, there is the sound of bleating which is suddenly interrupted by the sound of the death of the animal, there is a temporary lull in what one could see, and then… There! Above the courtyard smoke is rising. The smoke smells like the fragrant burning of a lamb. Aha! A sacrifice! Right there at the front of the courtyard.

Without even looking through the hangings, but just simply sitting outside, one could really learn a lot about the always-evident Christ. We can even back up for a moment. Today, just within the past hour, three groups of people came to the sanctuary at the same time. A priest came out to meet them and they chatted. After that, he bent over and inspected each animal very carefully. One of them was turned away. It was evident, even from where we are sitting and watching, that it had a defect.

Though the words were spoken in a different language, one not understood, it was unmistakable that the animal was rejected because it was marred. Only the very best was to be offered to this “God of Israel.” You see how easy it is! Just sit awhile and watch, and you will learn so very much.

And what about the people, will the people tell us anything as they come and go? Well, there is certainly a very, very rich man. Look at those fancy clothes. And yet, he is the one whose animal was turned away as unacceptable!

But that person to his right must be the poorest person ever seen. He and his family are literally in rags. And yet, they have saved all that they had in order to bring a lamb. And it is the most precious lamb I have ever seen. They must have paid extra for the chance to have it. Or, if they raised it, they were the most blessed of all. Surely they are giving of their very, very best in order to present a pleasing offering to this God of Israel.

I cannot even look upon that lamb without the greatest sense of awe and wonder. God, if there truly is a “God,” must have taken the highest delight in fashioning that lamb – so innocent and pure, and yet, these people have decided that offering the lamb back to Him is more important than anything else.

I can tell that money is not the issue here with this God. The richest man I have ever laid my eyes on has had his offering rejected, and the poorest bunch of hillbillies I have ever seen have had theirs accepted, and even gladly. The high priest himself marveled at the perfection of this precious lamb.

No, it is not about money at all. It is something much more valuable… it is about faith. One family demonstrated faith in the provision of the Lord, even in their poverty. The other demonstrated a complete lack of faith, trusting in his own status before this God of Israel. One was accepted; the other was rejected. This God, and the rites given to honor Him, is a God of any and all who come to Him by… faith.

I know this because the third family that came was well-to-do. They drove up on high performance donkeys with their servants and offerings in tow, and yet they too have been accepted. Their offerings were without blemish, and they were offered with a sense of humility, even gratitude, for the honor of serving this God of Israel. They didn’t trust in their wealth; they demonstrated faith.

I am indeed impressed with what I have seen. Let me tarry here and ponder more. I am truly curious about this “God of Israel.” He appears different than all the rest. The other temples I have passed by didn’t care at all about the type of offering, as long as there was a lot of money to go into the back pocket of the priest. A wink, a nod, the passing of some silver, and all was settled.

And that brings me to the silver. Even from outside, I can see that there are items of silver along the border of the courtyard. It is that upon which the hangings are hung. Other than the screen at the front, the hangings are all the finest white. In fact, while sitting here, one was taken down because it had a mar on it. Only the purest white, like snow, even like purity itself, is seen.

And that purity was hung from silver. It reminds me of the silver being passed from the people to the priest at the other temples, but this silver is pure and polished. There is nothing underhanded or dirty here. And so if silver be silver, the purpose remains the same. Money was passed and a deal was made… REDEMPTION!

The silver pictures a purchase, and thus an act of redemption. It is all so clear. The purity of the hangings is hung upon the silver of redemption. I like this God! This God of Israel! There is order and harmony here. And I can see, sitting here pondering these marvelous courts of the house of the Lord God of Israel, that the posts are set in bronze.

If the other materials have meaning, this must also. Bronze. It is hardy, it has a specific color because of the copper in it which other metals except gold lack, it is a very enduring metal, it is used as the base of the poles, and in fact, it is used for the pegs as well. It is the foundation of everything else that I can see.

I have already seen that there is judgment going on inside of the court. The sudden termination of the bleating, and then the rising of the smoke tells me this. It is the first thing that happens, just inside the entry to the sanctuary. It is the basis for everything else that occurs, just as the bronze is the base of everything I see from out here. JUDGMENT!

Simply by sitting outside, I can tell that the bronze signifies judgment. Yes, there is order and harmony here. There is wisdom on display. This sanctuary has intent and purpose; it has logic in all of its parts. Thus, the God inside that inner tent is different than all others.

I have passed through many lands and seen many gods. I have seen countless offerings, including human sacrifice – babies for some gods, and martyrs of war for others. There is no wisdom there. There is not logic there. There is no order or harmony. There is only chaos and death. But this sanctuary is different. I will tarry a bit longer…

Now, comes another thought to mind, this courtyard that I am looking at is facing east and west. The entrance is east, so those who enter to face the place of their God will be facing west. Isn’t that curious! The sun rises in the east. One might think this sanctuary would be turned around the other way for the people to face the rising sun.

Instead, they have the sun to their backs, rejecting it as any type of god. Their eyes look west. It reminds me of an ancient story, one where there was a land of exile to the east, but a place of delight to the west. It is an ancient story, but it is in my memory. These people are looking west, maybe in hopes of the land of delight. I need to learn more about this God who dwells to the west

This makes me think about another part of this sanctuary. If their God resides in the west, then they are coming from the east, out of that place of exile I heard about. You might think that the whole east end would be opened wide then, so that any and all could flood in. But this isn’t the case.

Instead, there is a screen at the entrance. There is a simple and small way to gain access into the courtyard. Think of it! The whole world is rushing along, busily seeking out “God” in whatever manner they choose. The path is wide to fit all of those people. But if this God that these people serve is the true God, then what a narrow means of gaining access into His presence!

One must be heading west, they have to go through just the right door at just the right location, they must come with an offering, and that offering is rejected if it isn’t pure and spotless and perfect. If these expectations are met, then they come up to this screen and its limited means of access. And what a marvelous screen! It is made of the richest colors – blue, purple, and scarlet thread which are intricately woven. It is a masterpiece of beauty.

I asked one of the people about the colors. He happened to speak my language and he told me that the blue stands for their law, the law of their God. The purple speaks of royalty. Their God is their King. As their King, He exercises the power of a king, upholding the law, executing war, and judging. These are a combination of blue and red which merge into purple.

And the red, how deep it is. It is the finest scarlet color I have ever seen. He told me that the red speaks of shed blood, but then he curiously said that the shed blood is what grants life. This is the strangest thing I can imagine. I need to learn more about this God who gives life from death. These things are so curious, and yet they seem so reasonable at the same time. And so I am tempted to get closer now and peer through the hangings to see the inside of the court better.

As I peek in, it is just as I expected. I can see an altar, standing before the entrance, west of the screen. It is bronze too. JUDGMENT! I’ve already figured out what the bronze stands for and why would I expect this to be any different? I’ll sit here quietly and see what happens. Maybe I’m right…

Sure enough, this altar is where a lot of activity is going on. The people bring in their animals, hands are placed on their heads, words are uttered, and then the animal is sacrificed. Its blood is collected and is handled by the priest.

Is this what it means that shed blood is what grants life? Is there some sort of a transfer from this innocent animal to the people, and from the people to the animal? That must be what the man meant. The people come in carrying a burden, the burden is transferred to the innocent animal, and the people’s burden is lifted.

It all makes sense. I’ve seen this type of thing in other temples, but it never seemed so effective. I don’t know how I know it, but I just know it. Here, there is such a sense of order and meticulous care, that I can tell what they are doing makes perfect sense. It is like a dream come true seeing what is happening here.

The only other thing I see outside of the main tent area within the courtyard is a wash basin. It is bronze too. JUDGMENT. The priests go to it to wash their hands and their feet. Now isn’t that curious! They are priests, so they must have been ordained as priests. And yet, they need to go back to this basin to clean themselves, as if they are defiled.

How can a priest be defiled? They must pick it up as they live their regular lives. They don’t wash their whole body though, just their hands and their feet. So, if they are priests who are acceptable to their God, and yet they are defiled, then the defilement must come as they walk with their feet and as they work with their hands.

I think I understand this. Even those cleansed by God still need to continuously purify themselves in order to be acceptable to perform the priestly duties. This God that they worship is so holy that even His priests must continuously be purified. The only word I can use to describe this is that they “sanctify” themselves. It’s funny, they are sanctified, and yet they need to be sanctified. I will ponder this as I browse some more. …

Well, isn’t that interesting. It sure seems rather odd to me is that this courtyard doesn’t have any other furniture. There are no chairs for the priests to sit at; there is no place for them to lie down. They just keep working… one sacrifice after another. And yet, the people seem content and pleased with how things are going.

I need to find out why, and there is just the guy to ask. He is an old man with a long beard and many years of life scarred into the wrinkles on his face. He must have been coming to the sanctuary a long time. If anyone knows the scoop, it must him.

And bonus, no translator needed. He also speaks my language. It seems that this God of theirs has every detail figured out in advance for me. In asking him what all of this meant, he stretched out his ancient eyes and looked back towards the tent inside the courtyard. He thought about it and then spoke.

“Our people worship God. The God. The one true God. He gave us His law and we were asked to live by it. A covenant was cut and we were accepted as His people. In the law, there are penalties for sin, but there is also forgiveness from sin as provided by the law.

“We come here to sacrifice in accordance with the law and our sin is forgiven. And we come here a lot. Year after year, we are reminded of our sin, and so we know that our sins are forgiven, but our sin is not taken away. If it was, we wouldn’t have to come back time and time again.

“But… in our law are included ancient stories of our history, even to the beginning of time itself. Right at the beginning, we were told of One who would come and who would destroy the evil one who brought sin into our lives. Until He comes, we present ourselves at this sanctuary to do what He will someday take care of for us.

“When He does this, I mean when He destroys the power of the one who brought evil into our lives, we won’t have to come back here, year after year. Instead, not only will our sins be forgiven, but our sin will be taken away. This is what we are waiting for.

“This sanctuary is telling us a story. Each pillar, and each color tells a part of it. The altar and the screen tell us a part of the story. I’ve contemplated this sanctuary for the past 87 years of my life, and each time I think on it, the story becomes a little clearer to me.

“There are parts of this sanctuary that no one is allowed to see, except the priests of course. And there is one part that only the high priest may see, and he can only see it once a year. And when he goes in, he must bring the blood of a sacrifice made for himself before he enters. He also takes in incense to obscure his vision of the most holy objects that are there. That tells us a story too.

“All of this is temporary, but all is necessary. We, as a people, are learning a most important lesson, if we will but learn. We’re a stiff-necked group. Our God has told us as much, and I fear that terrible times lay ahead, but we will still hold out for the promise of this One we call “Messiah.” He will make all things new.

The old man stopped there and said, “This, this is the answer to your question. Now I have a question for you. Life is precious and it passes by all too quickly. There is hope in the God of Israel. Would you like to come and rest in the shadow of His wings?”

I pondered his question. I’ve seen enough. I’ve seen the logical construction of this sanctuary. I’ve counted its poles and hangings. I’ve noted its sizes and dimensions. I’ve contemplated its materials and colors. I understand the sacrifices, and I believe that they are effective in making the people acceptable to their God – “the God.” I’ve seen so many things, and yet I have not even stepped inside. That is what I want to do next.

“Yes sir. I believe that I would. I would like to come and dwell among your people, and I want to share in what your God offers. I will do what is required to become a part of your people, the people of the God of Israel.”

Obviously, this has been a story, but it is a reasonable story. The courtyard of the sanctuary was what anyone who passed by could see. It was intended to keep people out, but it was also designed to let people in. For those who were of Israel, they could come inside the courts. For those who were not of Israel, they could still look in through the hangings in order to see and understand.

And what was it that both Israel and the Gentiles was to understand? It was that the God who resided within the tent which was within the hangings of the courtyard, was the same God who had done so much for Israel. He had done the miraculous in the past, and He had made promises for the future as well.

The courtyard was the always-evident Lord. One could understand so much about Him by just contemplating what their eyes could see. He is loving; He has provided a way of fellowshipping with His people. He is just; the people’s sins required judgment. He is merciful; He provided forgiveness through a substitute.

He is compassionate; He allowed the forgiveness of sins many times. He is righteous; His forgiveness was not arbitrary, nor was it withheld when it was petitioned as He laid out for the people. He is holy; the substitute could have no blemish, but rather it needed to be perfect.

The lesson of the courtyard is the lesson of our lives in the Lord. The people of the world may only see the true God through our lives, and so we are to be the always-evident Lord to them. Not that we are the Lord, but that we are the ones to make the Lord known to others.

If we, you or I, are all that some people will ever see in order to know Christ, will we be a suitable example for this to happen? Are we willing to put ourselves on display so that people will say, “I want to know more about what is inside the courtyard.”? Will they want to come through the screen, come to the altar, place their hands on the Lamb, and confess their sins over Him?

Each aspect of the courtyard is an aspect which pertains to you. The white hangings are the righteousness of Christ imputed to you. The bronze is the judgment which was rendered upon Christ for you. The silver is the redemption upon which your righteousness was purchased. We can go through every detail of this courtyard and apply what the always-evident Lord has done for you.

In turn, you should make yourself a shining example of this always-evident Lord for others to see and desire. Until they are justified, they cannot be sanctified. And until they are sanctified, they will never be glorified. The access to the throne of God is found in one place for all people, and you may be the only one to bring that knowledge to some of them.

You are on a journey heading west, back to the land of delight. Be sure that you bring along as many people as you can in the process. Should you fail, their destiny will be a far, far different one. As I noted, there is no chair and no sofa in the courtyard. There is no bed either. The priests worked and never sat down. You too need to spend your time wisely, working out your presentation of the always-evident Lord, so that when someone asks you about Him, you will be ready with a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.

How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord
How marvelous are Your courts which do surround
And how beautiful is Your gate, it pulls my heart toward
The marvelous place, there on the dry ground

I long to enter into the place where You dwell
And to smell the burning of the sacrifice
Accept my offering O Lord, and be pleased to tell
That we are again in fellowship, so sweet and so nice

How lovely is Your dwelling place, my God
I long to stay here with You for eternal days
And to gaze upon the beauty of my Lord
And with my soul, forever to sing Your praise

II. The Inventory (verses 21-31)

21 This is the inventory of the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the Testimony,

These words are debated. Is this speaking of the inventory of the things already mentioned, or the metals which will next be numbered? What is probably correct is that it brings us all the way back to chapter 35, and it carries all the way through until verse 20 of this chapter. Further, it will also include the metals when they are mentioned.

Everything that was offered, collected, and constructed was detailed and described. Even if the exact amount of the materials wasn’t noted, such as how much acacia wood was used, the materials were accounted for in the construction of the items.

In this verse, it places everything under the umbrella of ha’mishkan mishkan ha’eduth – “The tabernacle, [the] tabernacle [of] the testimony.” The reason for this is that the entire sanctuary, including the tent and the courtyard, was designed and constructed as extensions of the tabernacle itself.

And the tabernacle was erected specifically for the purpose of enclosing the two stone tablets of ha’eduth – the testimony. It is the testimony against sin which is contained within the Ark and upon which sat the Mercy Seat.

21 (con’t) which was counted according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son of Aaron the priest.

This counting of the materials was according to Moses’ command and was intended to be as a service of the Levites. The word “for” is not in the Hebrew and it gives a faulty sense of what is said. The service wasn’t for them, it was administered by them at the direction of Ithamar, the youngest son of Aaron.

It is curious that as the youngest he would be selected, but maybe the meaning of his name gives us a clue as to why. The name Ithamar means “Island of Palms” or “Land of Palms.” The tamar, or palm, is a symbol of uprightness. Thus the Levities are considered as an island of upright people who are administering a service before the Lord.

22 Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the Lord had commanded Moses. 23 And with him was Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver and designer, a weaver of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and of fine linen.

The initial call of Bezalel and Aholiab was made in Exodus 31. The men, their work, and even their names were chosen specifically for us to see pictures of Christ. If you skipped that sermon, you are directed to go home and watch it.

24 All the gold that was used in all the work of the holy place, that is, the gold of the offering, was twenty-nine talents and seven hundred and thirty shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.

The gold mentioned here was not for the “holy place” but for the sanctuary. The gold was used in the holy place, the most holy, place, and on the pillars which supported the screen entrance into the tabernacle. The total amount of gold is estimated to equal out to 4245 troy pounds. ($62,543,198.10 / 7 Dec 2016)

Although it is an exceptional amount, it is not so much as to be inconceivable. If there were 2,000,000 people who left Egypt and each family requested articles of gold from their neighbor, this would only amount to a portion of what was carried out.

25 And the silver from those who were numbered of the congregation was one hundred talents and one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary: 26 a bekah for each man (that is, half a shekel, according to the shekel of the sanctuary), for everyone included in the numbering from twenty years old and above, for six hundred and three thousand, five hundred and fifty men. 27 And from the hundred talents of silver were cast the sockets of the sanctuary and the bases of the veil: one hundred sockets from the hundred talents, one talent for each socket. 28 Then from the one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, overlaid their capitals, and made bands for them.

Although this is new information in the Bible, we have already reviewed it in a previous sermon, having gone forward to this passage in order to understand where the silver for the sockets, hooks, bands, and overlay came from.

That sermon was detailed in Exodus 26:15-30. If you missed that, you are directed to go home and pull it up on YouTube. If you watch it during dinner, order pizza or something else that you can eat by hand so that you don’t miss any details.

As a squiggle for your brain, this is the second and last time that the beqa is mentioned in the Bible. The first was in Genesis 24:22. The beka comes from baqa which means to cleave or to split. Hence a beqa is a split, or half, shekel.

Verse 26 is also an important number concerning those who are considered as adult males in Israel at the time. The age is twenty and above, and there are 603,550 men. This is in accord with the number given in Exodus 12:37 and it, therefore, allows a close reckoning of how many people actually departed from Egypt.

The number is not exact, but it is close enough to estimate the total population who probably came out. That would be somewhere around 2,000,000 souls. The total amount of silver today would equal about 14,602 troy pounds. ($3,457,169.52 / 7 Dec 2016).

29 The offering of bronze was seventy talents and two thousand four hundred shekels. 30 And with it he made the sockets for the door of the tabernacle of meeting, the bronze altar, the bronze grating for it, and all the utensils for the altar, 31 the sockets for the court all around, the bases for the court gate, all the pegs for the tabernacle, and all the pegs for the court all around.

The use of the brass and what it pictures concerning the work of Christ was previously noted in our sermons. If you missed them, and there are several, you will need to just start all over with the tabernacle series and watch each sermon. Be sure to take notes as I will be giving a written exam before you get your certificate of completion. The total amount of bronze today would equal about 10,277 troy pounds.

In all, the need for every detail set out by the Lord was met by the giving of the people, and all of it was voluntary with the exception of the ransom money taken during the numbering of the people. The Lord had a plan, the minutest details of which are being overseen by Him, and it is being worked out moment by moment in the stream of time.

Our Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of every one of these types and shadows which He has brought to the pages of His word. He is there for us to see and to understand. Be pleased as you pick up this precious treasure each day to look for Him there.

In the end, we are on a journey back to the arms of our heavenly Father. Christ is the path, and Jesus is the finish line at the end of that path. Let us fix our eyes on Him and let us not waiver in our devotion to Him. Let us be found pleasing in the sight of the Lord as we look for Him in His superior word.

Closing Verse: “Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength.
Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.” Psalm 96:7-9

Next Week: Exodus 39:1-43 When I give you the title, please don’t, hem or haw, haw or hem… (And Moses Blessed Them) (103rd 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.

The Courtyard and the Inventory

Then he made the court on the south side
The hangings of the court, according to the word
Were of fine woven linen
One hundred cubits long, as specified by the Lord

There were twenty pillars for them
With twenty bronze sockets also
The hooks of the pillars
And their bands were silver, as we know

On the north side the hangings
Were one hundred cubits long, as was said
With twenty pillars and their twenty bronze sockets
The hooks of the pillars and their bands were silver
As the instructions read

And on the west side there were
Hangings of fifty cubits, as we are told
With ten pillars and their ten sockets
The hooks of the pillars and their bands were silver, not of gold

For the east side the hangings were fifty cubits
The hangings of one side of the gate
Were fifteen cubits long
With their three pillars and their three sockets
As the record does state

And the same for the other side of the court gate
On this side and that were hangings of cubits fifteen
With their three pillars and their three sockets
Bezalel’s adherence to the details here is seen

All the hangings of the court all around
Were of fine woven linen; surely its appearance did astound

The sockets for the pillars were bronze
The hooks of the pillars and their bands were silver also
And the overlay of their capitals was silver
And all the pillars of the court had bands of silver, as we know

The screen for the gate of the court
Was woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread
And of fine woven linen
It was accomplished just as the Lord had said

The length was twenty cubits
And the height along its width was cubits five
Corresponding to the hangings of the court
For perfection Bezalel did strive

And there were four pillars
With their four sockets of bronze too
Their hooks were silver
And the overlay of their capitals and their bands
Was silver through and through

All the pegs of the tabernacle
And of the court all around, were bronze
Every detail Bezalel did minutely tackle

This is the inventory of the tabernacle
The tabernacle of the Testimony
Which was counted
According to the commandment of Moses, you see

For the service of the Levites, from the first to the least
By the hand of Ithamar, son of Aaron the priest

Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur
Of the tribe of Judah, so we know
Made all that the LORD had commanded Moses
And according to the detailed instructions also

And with him was Aholiab the son of Ahisamach
Of the tribe of Dan, an engraver and designer was he
A weaver of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and of fine linen
Working out his works so carefully

All the gold that was used in all the work of the holy place
That is, the gold of the offering
Was twenty-nine talents and seven hundred and thirty shekels
According to the shekel of the sanctuary, such was the proffering

And the silver from those who were numbered
Of the congregation was one hundred talents, so we see
And one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five shekels
According to the shekel of the sanctuary

A bekah for each man; that is, half a shekel
According to the shekel of the sanctuary
For everyone included in the numbering
From twenty years old and above, counted accordingly

For six hundred and three thousand, five hundred and fifty men
The number was taken at Sinai, there and then

And from the hundred talents of silver
Were cast the sockets of the sanctuary and the bases of the veil
One hundred sockets from the hundred talents
One talent for each socket did entail

Then from the 1775 shekels
He made hooks for the pillars, this he did do
Overlaid their capitals
And made bands for them too

The offering of bronze was talents seventy
And two thousand four hundred shekels accordingly

And with it he made the sockets
For the door of the tabernacle of meeting, so he made
The bronze altar, the bronze grating for it
And all the utensils for the altar, plying in his trade

The sockets for the court all around
The bases for the court gate, bases which did abound
All the pegs for the tabernacle
And all the pegs for the court all around

Thank You, Lord for the wonderful detail we see
Every word is precious for us to ponder
And all of it points to Jesus ever so marvelously
Thank You for sharing with us such splendid wonder

Hear our thanks as we praise You for all of our days
Forever and ever we shall sing to You with joyous praise

Hallelujah and Amen…


Exodus 38:1-8 (Justified and Sanctified Before Our God)

Exodus 38:1-8
Justified and Sanctified before Our God

On the day I typed this sermon, which was 10 October 2016, I received word that a friend of mine had died. Jeff loved the Lord desperately and he often spoke to others about Him. He had a group on Facebook called “Homeward Bound” where he would post happy messages about Christ.

When I traveled the 50 states in 2010, I got to meet him personally and we shared a few hours together at a marvelous Greek restaurant. He also came to Florida to visit us for a few days sometime after that.

Jeff was saved by the Lord and He loved the Lord. But he also struggled with life. He had addictions that he couldn’t overcome. He was often depressed and would email asking for prayer. “Charlie, I’m in a very low spot right now.” We would pray and I carried him with me often in my heart during these times.

He would also have extreme highs, and he never failed to thank the Lord for them. He loved his family, he cherished his friends, and he connected me with more Facebook friends than any other person I know. He was always sending me new friend requests to approve. I have come to cherish many of them. He had the knack of knowing how to fit the right people together.

Well, my friend Jeff is no longer Homeward Bound. He has arrived at His final destiny, there to live in perfect contentment and peace with his Lord.

Today, we are going to look at two different pieces of tabernacle furniture that describe two different functions in the process of redemption. We’ve already seen what they picture, and so we will look deeper into how those pictures are actually realized in the work of Christ in and for us.

The first is the Altar of Burnt Offering and it looks at the process of justification. The second is the Bronze Laver and it looks to the process of sanctification.

Jeff got the first process settled at the foot of the cross. He was pardoned for the sins of his life, once and for all, through the work of Christ. Jeff struggled with the second process. He would go in fits and starts through cycles of sanctification and then falling back into the world.

Thank God that the race isn’t up to us to complete. The sanctification of this life is one which keeps us healthy and in a right walk towards Christ. The full and final sanctification, however, comes solely through the work of the Lord. We’ll see that as we go along today. But I cannot stress to you enough the importance of these two processes.

Text Verse: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

To stand justified before the Lord means that we are free from condemnation. We have overcome and we are guaranteed a place at the heavenly banquet which has been prepared for the redeemed of the Lord.

To be sanctified in its fullest sense is something that is accomplished the moment we were justified. We are made acceptable to God at that time. However, to be sanctified in this life is something that we need to pursue, from day to day, and even moment by moment.

Like I said, Jeff struggled with this aspect of our walk, but we all do to some extent. If we can just look beyond the pains, the trials, and the struggles and let the word dwell richly in us, then the sanctification process is a lot easier. The more we have the word in us, the less likely we are to fall back into old ways.

Like a tap that must be opened in order to receive the waters, our growth in the Lord will only come through receiving the waters He provides. And that tap ain’t opening itself. The book is there, and the amount of dust on top of it will tell how long it has been since you opened it up.

And once it is open, the amount of notes in it, whether there are many or few dog ears in it, and the number of pages falling out of it are indications as to how seriously you take it to heart. I am quite certain that Jeff’s Bible was well worn and marked up, but I think that at times, the dust started to pile up on it. Those are certainly the times he would call or email and tell me things weren’t going so well.

Don’t squander your time, and don’t ever feel that you can make it without this precious gift of God. Trust this word, rely on this word, and let this word fill your heart and soul – in good times and especially in bad times. Pursue the word, and let it dwell richly in your soul at all times.

This is what the Lord would ask of you, and this is the lesson that is 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. Justification (verses 1-7)

He made the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood; five cubits was its length and five cubits its width—it was square—and its height was three cubits. He made its horns on its four corners; the horns were of one piece with it. And he overlaid it with bronze. He made all the utensils for the altar: the pans, the shovels, the basins, the forks, and the firepans; all its utensils he made of bronze. And he made a grate of bronze network for the altar, under its rim, midway from the bottom. He cast four rings for the four corners of the bronze grating, as holders for the poles. And he made the poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with bronze. Then he put the poles into the rings on the sides of the altar, with which to bear it. He made the altar hollow with boards.

The concept of justification before God is given its greatest explanation to us from the hand of Paul in the book of Romans. There is a place where man’s sins are atoned for. It is where the penalty for sin is paid. In the economy of the Law of Moses, that took place at the Altar of Burnt Offering.

Man would come before the Lord, place his hands upon an innocent animal which would then be slaughtered and burnt up on the altar. In this, an innocent would take the place of the guilty. The sin would be transferred to the innocent, and the sinner was considered, at least temporarily, “justified” before God. The penalty for his sin had been paid, and it was thus removed.

This was the standard for all of Israel throughout the time of the law, and of course, there was much more involved in the process. There were several types of sacrifices, and there were certain days where more was done than on other days, such as the Day of Atonement. But the common theme was that a substitute died in place of the guilty.

As we saw in the giving of the instructions for the altar described here, every single detail pointed to Christ. Thus, in the study of the altar, both of its construction and use, we find foreshadowings of the marvel to come. Concerning the concept of being justified before God, it is all here in those types and shadows. Paul speaks of what it means to be “justified” in God’s sight in Romans  2 –

“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified…” Romans 2:12, 13

We are told that if one sins under the law, he will be judged by the law. Only a person who actually “does” the law, meaning adhering to it perfectly, will be justified. But Paul gives us an all-encompassing statement in Romans 3:19, 20 –

“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

How can it be that only “the doers of the law will be justified” and yet, “by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight”? How can this be? It is because nobody is able to live out the law as it is written. It is an impossible task. Thus, within the law itself, there was a way given to obtain mercy from violations of the law. It was found in the sacrifices of the law, highlighted by the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement.

Without them, man stood guilty before God, but because of them, man could be pardoned for another year. But… the truth then follows that the removal of the sin was actually only temporary. If sacrifices needed to be repeated, year after year, then it means that there was a constant reminder of sin. This is explained in the book of Hebrews –

“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” Hebrews 10:1-4

This is why Paul says that “by the law no flesh will be justified” in the sight of God. There was only a temporary stay of God’s wrath, not a permanent taking away of sin. However, there is good news…marvelous news for us. This altar and its associated sacrifices was only a temporary fixture which was intended to both picture, and lead us to, an understanding of the greater work of Christ. Paul continues to explain this in Romans 3:21-23 –

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”

We are told here that “the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed.” In other words, this righteousness is one which is not at all associated with the law, meaning deeds of the law. He even tells us that the Law itself, along with the Prophets, bear witness to this. How can we know what is witnessed unless we study it?

Paul’s words have to be rooted in something, or they are meaningless. This is why we study the law! It is because in understanding the law, we can then appreciate the absolute marvel of what Christ has done for us.

We were just told that “all have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God.” It is the law which gives us the knowledge of sin. Without a law, there is no law to break. If there were no legal speed limit, then we could drive at any speed we wanted. But as soon as someone passes that dang law which restricts us to 70 mph, we will become lawbreakers when we drive at 71 or more.

Likewise, the law gives us the knowledge of sin, but it does nothing to take away the guilt. When the law is broken, it is broken. We can pay the fine, but the infraction remains as a permanent part of our history. Therefore, there must be something which comes apart from the law to remove our guilt, or we will always have that guilt in memory.

In the United States, we have a provision which actually fits this need quite well. It is call the Pardon. When the president pardons a person, their record is wiped clean. It is as if the law was never broken. It can never be brought up again, and it is to be released from all record and memory. This is a marvelous type of what occurs for the believer in Jesus Christ. Paul continues with the good news in Romans 3 –

“…being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

The Day of Atonement was a day of faith in the provision of God for another year. Now, in fulfillment of what that day signified, we see Christ Jesus. He was “set forth as a propitiation by His blood.” The animal that was slaughtered at the altar had its blood carried into the Holy of Holies where it was sprinkled before the Lord and on the mercy seat. Paul says that Christ is that Mercy Seat.

Here he uses the word hilastérion. It is the same word as is found in the Greek translation of the OT for the Mercy Seat. Christ is our place of propitiation and restoration. Again, this is explained in Hebrews 9 –

“For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;  25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Hebrews 9:24-26

What we are being told, is that each of these articles was only a copy of something which heaven requires for our justification before God, and that Christ is the fulfillment of those things. He came under the law, fulfilled the law, and then put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

Think of it! If He never sinned under the law, then the law has no power to condemn Him. And so in dying under the law, but without violating it, the law, through Him, is finished. Hence, His final gasping words of His torturous time on Calvary’s cross –

Tetelestai – “It is finished.”

In Greek, it is in the perfect tense. It is finished, completely and absolutely. Unlike the sacrifices of the altar which had to be repeated again and again (and again!), this was a one-time-for-all-time thing. But before the reality, came the types and shadows.

What God has done in Christ is first hinted at in these objects which were instructed by the Lord through Moses, and which are now being carefully and meticulously made by Bezalel and those who are appointed under him.

Now arises a question for us to consider. The people agreed to the law which was presented by the Lord. They placed themselves under both its protection and its penalties. Within the law, God provided them a means of being forgiven for violations of the law. Right? If they came forward acknowledging those violations, then it means that they knew they were guilty before the law, yes? Otherwise, they would have no need of coming forward.

And so, if they came forward and received God’s needed mercy for the forgiveness of their sins, then could they turn around and boast about their forgiven state? Well, technically, they could. But it would be a vain boasting!

Being granted mercy implies that they simply did not receive what was justly deserved. They were guilty before the law and their guilt was mercifully transferred to an innocent. As this was temporary and only given in anticipation of the Christ to come, Paul asks the question for us, and then he follows up by answering it –

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.” Romans 3:27

If someone perfectly lived out the law, they wouldn’t need to come and ask for mercy. Therefore, boasting is excluded. If we have faith that Christ died for us, it means that we needed Him to die for us! How can we boast in ourselves concerning what He has done? Rather, we are to boast in Him for what He has done.

This is what it means to be justified before God. All boasting is set aside, except for that boasting which is in the Lord. This is what the people are being taught in this marvelous piece of shittim wood and bronze.

And this is what we are taught as we carefully and meticulously wind our way through the pages of Scripture. We are coming back to God through the work of Another; through the work of God in Christ. Paul sums up the transaction here, pictured by this ancient wooden box which was lavishly covered In bronze –

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.” Romans 3:28, 29

The law was given to Israel, the Jewish people, but there is one God who created all people. The people outside of the covenant required justification before God, and the people inside of the covenant required the same justification. The badge of circumcision didn’t nullify their need for justification; it highlighted it.

And so both Jew and Gentile must come to God in the same manner, by faith in the work of a Substitute. Only in this vicarious act can we stand justified before God. And so Paul’s final question, and explanatory response, of Chapter 3 of Romans is given for us to consider.

“Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” Romans 3: 30

What does it mean that “we establish the law?” It is that we acknowledge that the law exists, that it had power over us, and that we had no ability to meet its precepts. However, we further establish that Christ could and did. He lived out the law, and died in fulfillment of that same law – as is pictured in the sacrifices which were made at this very altar that Bezalel is so faithfully constructing for Israel.

Thus, by faith in what He has done, we “establish the law.” We acknowledge our guilt before God, place our hands on the Innocent, and the transfer is made from imperfect us, to our perfect Substitute. In this act, pictured by this transfer at the altar, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5 –

“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

Paul will go on speaking of the process of justification throughout the book of Romans and throughout the rest of his writings as well. We have simply taken a very short trip through a long and detailed process which involves the most serious of contemplation and careful consideration.

This was the intent of presenting Israel with these implements, rituals, and practices. And yet, they failed to come to an understanding of what God was trying to show them. Even in the coming of Christ, they rejected Him and considered their own righteousness before God as an inherent righteousness.

They failed to see that the animals which died as their hands were placed on its head meant that they were.not.righteous, but unrighteous. The sacrifices were simply an act of “going through the motions.” Isaiah explained this to them as did many of the other prophets, but their eyes were glazed over and their ears were made dull. Here is how Isaiah explained it to them, right at the beginning of his writings –

Hear the word of the Lord,
You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the law of our God,
You people of Gomorrah:
11 “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?”
Says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle.
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
Or of lambs or goats. Isaiah 1:10-11

Just a few verses later, the Lord calls out for them to reason things through. If they failed to do so, there would be consequences…

18 “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.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20

If they, who had these articles and rites before their very eyes, failed to make the necessary connection to a right-standing with God, how much less likely are we to do so unless we pay heed to the word which has been given to us!

Don’t ever assume that because you belong to a certain church, or because you have done certain things, or even that because you are of a particular blood line, that you have somehow merited God’s favor. That is the crucial mistake which only further removes a person from their Creator. Only by faith in what Jesus Christ did can we stand justified before our glorious God.

In our Thursday night Bible studies right now, we are going through the book of Romans. It is a long, detailed, and intricate book of explanation concerning these things. I would recommend that you put your best foot forward and join us for that marvelous trip each week.

Justified! Free from sin; released from all guilt
Justified! In Christ my pardon is won
Through His life and death, when His precious blood was spilt
I am reconciled to my God; the work is done

O! That Christ would take the place for someone like me
What manner of love would bring this about?
There He hung, on the cross of Calvary
Until those final words, He did breathe out

It is finished! The price has been paid
For all who will place their sins at the foot of this cross
What a most exceptional trade
His righteousness as gain; my sin and guilt as loss

II. Sanctification (verse 8)

He made the laver of bronze and its base of bronze, from the bronze mirrors of the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.

Like justification, sanctification is explained to us in detail in the New Testament. The Bronze Laver, though lacking in any significant detail, is the implement which pictures our process of sanctification.

Something is added into the details here that was not included in the details that the Lord gave to Moses on the mountain. It is that the laver was made from the bronze mirrors of the serving women. It is a detail which has great significance, and yet Bezalel probably never gave it a second thought.

But the Lord specifically included that information for us to consider and, pun intended, reflect upon. That is exactly what a mirror is, it is something which reflects who we are. We reflect on what we look like and then work to improve the shabby figure we see, adjusting ourselves until we look the very best that we can.

That is what the process of sanctification is for; to mold us into an image other than the one we started out as. As fallen, fallible sons and daughters of Adam, we have flaws and imperfections which are displeasing to the Lord. We were born that way and we often only make things worse as go from bad decision to bad decision.

We wind up as vessels which are wholly and completely unacceptable to God. Here is how Paul describes us when we come to this state –

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10

This is a real problem because even though this seems horrible in the extreme, it pretty much covers all of us in one way or another. God looks at us based on intent. Coveting is something that happens inside of us.

Nobody else may even know that we are coveting, but God does. I dare say that there isn’t a person here who hasn’t coveted something at some time in his life. We may or may not have done many of the things on the list, but we have all done some of them.

But through the process of coming to Christ, we are forgiven of sin’s penalty and we receive the pardon which He purchased for us. Along with that, comes something more, something which we experience, at least positionally…

And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

Christ’s shed blood washes us from these things and we stand not only justified, but also sanctified. As I said, this is a positional sanctification. It is what allows us to immediately come into God’s presence. Should we call on Jesus and die that same day, we would be considered acceptable to God because of what Jesus did for us.

Paul reiterates this type of sanctification in Ephesians 5. There he equates Christ’s sacrifice of Himself directly with our sanctification…

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-28

It is Christ, and Christ alone who sanctifies us and makes us acceptable before God the Father. Through Him, all past defilement is washed away. The things of the past are gone, and in Christ all things are made new – clean, and presentable to our heavenly Father.

But, there is another type of sanctification which the Bible speaks of. This is also what is pictured in the Bronze Laver. The priests would come to this laver to wash at certain times and before doing certain things. This instructed them that even though they were ordained as priests and acceptable to God to conduct their priestly duties, they still needed to purify themselves in the presence of the perfectly holy Lord.

In the New Testament, we are called a kingdom of priests, and we are expected to perform our priestly duties properly and with a sense of purity, just as Christ did. Paul gives us an insight into this process of sanctification in 2 Timothy 2 –

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:20, 21

It should be pretty obvious by evaluating ourselves that even after we call on Christ, we have a long way to go as far as living in the manner that the Bible expects of us. Some of us never progress in this way; others are full steam ahead, living out the word and growing in holiness before the Lord.

But even those who are ever striving forward still pick up the dirt of the world. None of us are exempt from this. And so we are to come to the laver and wash ourselves. It is the word of God which is being referred to. We read the word, apply it to our lives, and we are purified by the water.

This most precious gift of all is given to us to lead us into all righteousness, to purify us in our life’s walk, and to make us acceptable vessels, useful for our Master. And yet, Paul tells us elsewhere that it is God who is the One who sanctifies us. He said this in his first letter to the Thessalonians –

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

And yet there is more. The mystery is further explained by Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians –

“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth…” 2 Thessalonians 2:13

It is the third member of the Trinity, God’s precious Holy Spirit who is behind the process of sanctification. But how do we tie these things together so that they make sense? 1) We are told that we are to cleanse ourselves in order to be sanctified, and yet 2) we are told that God is the one who sanctifies us in this manner. And even more specifically, 3) it is the Spirit of God who does it.

How do we reconcile these verses so that they make sense? The answer is that in our sanctification, we passively receive from the Spirit as we actively cleanse ourselves with Him.

In the tabernacle and at the temple, the priests would go to the laver, open the spigot, and they would receive the water for cleansing of their physical bodies. The priests actively did something, and the water passively passed to them. And yet, it is the water which is what cleansed them.

In our lives, if we are willing to go to what the laver and its water picture, we will receive sanctification and cleansing. The water is the word of God, the Holy Bible. It was given to us by inspiration of the Spirit. We are, when we go to the word, washed and cleansed. We actively pursue the word, and we passively receive the Spirit. And yet, it is the Spirit which cleanses us.

There is a synergism which cannot be denied in this process, just as there is a synergism in our justification. On the Day of Atonement, the people had to actively come to confess their sins, but as we saw, they could not boast in that. It would be utterly foolish to boast in receiving forgiveness for sins that we had just confessed that we committed!

Likewise, in Christ we must come to Him in order to be saved, but in coming to Him we are saved by Him. There is a synergism involved in the process. In the same manner, we must come to the word in order to be sanctified. When we receive what it says and apply it to our lives, we are sanctified.

It is an immensely sad thing to contemplate, but the water is right there for us if we desire it. The word is written; it was divinely inspired by the Spirit to lead us into all righteousness; its precepts are available to any and all who will pick it up and read it; and the yielding of our lives to it will bring us back into a holy and right standing with our heavenly Father. And yet so few avail themselves of this fount of spiritual blessing.

Bezalel’s hands fashioned this laver with skill and care from the mirrors of the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. God fashioned the Bible as if from the mirror of His perfection through holy men of God, selected by Him.

When people looked at the Bronze laver, they would remember the story of where it came from. When we look at the Bible, we are likewise to remember where it came from. When the priests opened the spigot, they would feel the refreshing water purifying them for service to the Lord. When we as priests of the Lord open the Bible, we should naturally expect the same as it purifies us for our acceptable service to the Lord. How is it that we can be sanctified? Paul sums the thought up so well with these words –

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16

In doing these things, we will keep ourselves from temptations, we will be kept from falling into evil practices, we will stay on the right path, and be able to resist the devil. He is there, setting snares for us each and every day, but in knowing the word and having it dwell richly in us, those traps will be evident long before they draw near to us. This is the power of the word of God to affect our lives. Like the water of the Laver, its contents are able to cleanse us fully. This is why Paul says to us in 2 Corinthians 7:1 –

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

How can we know the promises unless we are told of them? And how can we cleanse ourselves unless we avail ourselves of the tool and manual which is given for this very purpose? Open it, read it, study it, live it, share it, teach it, and preach it. I do believe the time is short and we desperately need to use it wisely.

As a final note today, we need to remember who it was that was given charge of constructing these particular items, Bezalel. The name Betsalel is made of three different parts. The el at the end means “God.” The “b” at the beginning signifies “in.” and the middle part comes from the noun tsel, meaning “shadow.”

And so his name means “In the Shadow of God.” As shade is considered a protection in the Bible, such as from the heat of the sun, it is a metaphor for “In the Protection of God.” Considering my friend Jeff who has passed on to the arms of Christ, we have no worries if his failings somehow separated him from God. Such is not the case.

The true Altar was designed by the Lord, and it was fashioned by He who dwells in the protection of God. If He died for Jeff, then Jeff was and is in that protection. And the same is true for each and every one of you who have called on Jesus. God has given us a place of safety and refuge from His wrath, there in His shadow. It is Jesus Christ the Lord. Let us avail ourselves of that by coming to His cross and confessing our sins before Him.

And then Bezalel made the next piece, the Bronze Laver. Its purpose and use is behind Jeff now, but for each of us, we have it available to us. If we consider and reflect upon those who have gone before us in various ways and in various states, maybe the Bible will have more meaning to us.

Jeff may have been able to endure the struggles of this life a little better if he had more of the word in him during his low spells. It is incumbent on us to do our very best to fill ourselves now and always with the precious, marvelous word. In so doing, we can more easily face the many trials and woes that come our way.

Life may be painful, but with the word in our hearts it will be less so. Our walk may be filled with many sorrows, but with the word open before our eyes, we can also find many comforts. Our days may be long and tedious, but when pondering the promises of the word, the time ahead takes on a new and an exciting meaning.

Let us remember these things and thank God who has done so very much for us, all of which is reflected in these two beautiful pieces of handiwork which stood in the sanctuary and which were then used until they were no longer needed. The true Altar and Laver have come. Let us go to Christ so that we may stand approved, justified and sanctified, before our glorious Creator.

Closing Verse: Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20, 21

Next Week: Exodus 38:9-31 He is the One we are to fix our eyes toward… (The Always Evident Lord) (102nd  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.

Christ, Our Altar and Our Laver

He made the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood
Five cubits was its length and five cubits it was wide
It was square, as is understood
And its height was three cubits; with the instructions he complied

He made its horns on its four corners
The horns were of one piece with it
And he overlaid it with bronze
Thus he fashioned as the Lord did submit

He made all the utensils for the altar:
The pans, the shovels, the basins, working in his trade
The forks, and the firepans as well
All its utensils of bronze he made

And he made a grate
Of bronze network for the altar
Under its rim, midway from the bottom
His workmanship did not falter

He cast four rings for the four corners
Of the bronze grating
As holders for the poles
Here is where the altar and the poles were mating

And he made the poles of acacia wood
And overlaid them with bronze
From the directions, this was understood

Then he put the poles into the rings
On the sides of the altar, the directions he did follow
With which to bear it
He made with boards the altar hollow

He made the laver of bronze
And its base of bronze, as was called for
From the bronze mirrors of the serving women
Who assembled at the tabernacle of meeting’s door

Lord God, we thank you with all of our soul
For what these things we have seen look forward to
We can have certainty that all is under control
And that every detail has been handled by You

Our destiny is secure; we stand justified
Because of Jesus Christ and the blood that He shed
Though His cross we have been purified
Our pardon is purchased and we are brought back from the dead

And through Your word, we can grow in sanctification
And we will daily become more like You
Walking in holiness through the Spirit’s ministration
This is what coming to Your word will do

Help us, O Lord, to pursue Christ now, and always
May our lives be a pleasing offering in Your sight
O, for this to be true for all of our days
May we pursue Jesus with all of our might

And then in eternity’s splendid glory
We will walk in Your light for unending days
We shall behold the unfolding never-ending story
And in that brilliant light, we shall give you eternal praise

Hallelujah and Amen…

Exodus 36:1-38 (The People’s Offering)

Exodus 36:1-38
The People’s Offering

We’re going to cover more verses today in a single sermon than I have ever presented before. And with many verses comes many details. It doesn’t matter that 31 of the verses have been substantially given to you before, you probably don’t remember 99.837% of what those details pertained to.

Because of this, instead of our usual 24 or 25 page sermon, we have 139 pages to get through. Lunch,,, no lunch. You’ll be blessed if you’re home by bed time. Ok, that won’t happen. Other than the first seven verses, we won’t go into any detail at all. But those seven verses have a lot of relevant detail which you can contemplate and apply to your own life in the presence of the Lord.

When we get towards the end of them, I’m going to highlight a group of people who tend to give more than any others. It almost seems like a universal truth, and it probably stems from the fact that those who don’t have, don’t worry about what they don’t have. But those who do have always worry about keeping it. Solomon actually talked about this in Ecclesiastes 5:12 –

Text Verse: “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,
Whether he eats little or much;
But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.”

From the verses today, we will see that some of the people probably didn’t sleep the night through, but it was because they were preparing something for the Lord, not because they were worried about losing what they had. Their hearts were geared towards a good goal, and they were determined to meet that goal, laboring with their hands in order to make it come about.

Is this what you are doing with your time? Are you working towards meeting goals which are honoring of the Lord, or are you filling your time with all kinds of other things? Solomon tells us to enjoy our time and to find pleasure in the work of our hands, and in the blessings which that work provides, but he also makes us aware that we have responsibilities to the Lord. The people of Israel who are highlighted today, spent themselves for a good cause and they are remembered for it now.

Let each of us endeavor to act in the same way with these brief lives that we have been given. Soon enough we will be facing the Lord to make an account of ourselves. Such truths are 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. The People’s Freewill Offerings (verses 1-5)

“And Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the Lord has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary,

The chapter begins with this verse which curiously seems rightly placed at the end of chapter 35. In verses 30-35, Bezalel and Aholiab were named by Moses as the ones called by the Lord to accomplish the work set forth for the construction of the sanctuary.

Moses also noted their ability to teach all the others in the skills necessary to accomplish those tasks. He even said of Bezalel almost exactly what is said of him here again. In verse 31, he said that “He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship.”

It is of note that there it said the Lord “filled him with the Spirit of God.” Now it says that “the Lord has put wisdom and understanding” in him. It is the Lord who gives the Spirit. Therefore, the wisdom and understanding are from the Lord. This is exactly what Jesus says of Himself in the New Testament –

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” John 16:12-15

It is another, of the innumerable verses of Scripture, which point to the fact that Yehovah of the Old Testament is Jesus of the New. The same Lord who directs the Spirit of God is found in both, because they are One and the same.

As far as the curious placement of this verse being place here instead of at the end of the last chapter which closed out with the words, “…those who do every work and those who design artistic works,” that spoke of Bezalel and Aholiab and it also spoke of all of those who were to be directed by them. Because of this, it would seem that this first verse of chapter 36 should be placed in that section as a final clause. In fact, Adam Clarke argues that it is, in fact, misplaced –

“The first verse of this chapter should end the preceding chapter, and this should begin with verse the second; as it now stands, it does not make a very consistent sense.” Adam Clarke

And yet, it is instead placed as an introductory clause to this new chapter! It is so curious, that there are two different ways in which this verse is translated. The first is in the past tense –

“Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded.” (KJV)

They have certainly done this with the assumption that it is a statement explaining what lies ahead as an accomplished fact. The second is in the future tense as is recorded in the NKJV and others. It is hard to be dogmatic on which is correct, but the reason for the curious placement is actually seen in the next words…

1 (con’t) shall do according to all that the Lord has commanded.”

Rather than being a concluding thought for the last chapter, this verse is given as an opening thought for this one. It thus ties the two together, and it shows that what the Lord has commanded is to be accomplished. What will be described from here on out is then exactly what was commanded by the Lord.

Though these men were chosen by the Lord, and though they were filled with the Spirit of God, they are not working independently of the commands of the Lord, but in accord with them. One cannot claim authority in speaking for the Lord without doing that which the Lord has commanded.

Wow! If people would simply realize this, they would very quickly turn from the false leaders of the world and to those who conduct their lives in accord with the word of God. Any church which has its own catechism, book of laws, or the like to which they are obedient has already started down the wrong path. Those can be amended by man who wrote them, but the word of God is fixed and unchanging. Only in an adhering to what the Lord has commanded can there be people who are truly led by His Spirit.

Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work.

Verse 1 was given as an introductory thought, directing the people to adherence to the word of the Lord. With that done, Moses is now noted as actually calling those who have the ability to perform that same word. There are those who have abilities, and the desire to perform the work of the Lord, but there still needs to be a calling of them for the ability and desire to be used.

And so several things are seen here which must all work together. 1) There are those who are capable, but not willing. 2) There are those who are willing, but are not capable. 3) There are those who are both willing and capable, but who are not called. 4) There are those who are willing and capable, and who also receive the call.

To call those who are capable, but are not willing will lead to frustration of the individual in his tasks. To call those who are not capable, but who still want to work, will lead to frustration for everyone else who has to make up for their deficiencies. And to call those who are not willing and also not capable will lead to complete frustration and failure in all regards. Only when the qualifications are met, and a need for them exists, should a call be made for the work of the Lord.

For now, those with the abilities and the desire to use them are called forward by Moses to accomplish the work. The verses which describe that work begin in verse 8 and go all the way through the end of chapter 39. They are going to have a ton of repetition to the instructions given to Moses in Exodus 25-30.

In those chapters, that which was expected to be done was spoken. In these chapters, that which is done is to be documented. The seemingly tedious repetition is given in order to demonstrate exactly what was given in verse 1 concerning the words, “…all that the Lord has commanded.”

In other words, there is an expectancy that the word of the Lord will be fulfilled, even in the minutest detail. The accomplishment of this work in that same detail is given to show obedience to that word. If the work does not represent the instruction, then an incorrect presentation of the Lord’s word would be the result.

As each detail of the instructions were given as anticipatory pictures of Christ, then any details not adhered to would present a false picture of Christ. In other words, it is showing us two truths. The first is that there is the true Christ, and there are false Christs.

The second is that the true Christ is revealed in type and shadow in what is ultimately made, and then approved of by Moses. This adherence to the minutest details of what the Lord had spoken will be seen in the final words of this long and detailed section –

“According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did all the work. 43 Then Moses looked over all the work, and indeed they had done it; as the Lord had commanded, just so they had done it. And Moses blessed them.” Exodus 39:42-43

Understanding this, we will not skip over these three chapters of repetition, but will go through them – just not with the same minute parsing of each word that we went through before. Rather, we will simply and quickly follow them along and highlight the work as it goes. In the chapters ahead, I will also use what is being explained as a basis for following other avenues for us to pursue. Don’t lose interest in what lies ahead. These are repeated for your benefit and instruction, so cherish them with that in mind.

And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary.

Back in Exodus 25:8, the term miqdash, or sanctuary, was used to describe everything concerned with what is being constructed. Two other terms were given. One was the mishkan, or tabernacle, and the other was the ohel, or tent.

Some translations have followed the words precisely, stating them as intended each time they were used. Others, like the KJV, were regularly wrong in how they presented the tent and the tabernacle. This causes confusion as to what was being spoken of.

The word translated here as “sanctuary” is ha’qodesh, or literally, the holy. However, it is the same in meaning as miqdash, and so the word “sanctuary” is correct. Everything about the structure is holy, and it is a single unit which comprises the sanctuary.

Understanding this, all of the offering which is brought forward is for the purpose of making the sanctuary. The opening words of the verse are v’yiqhu mil-liphne moshe. Literally, “And received from before the face of Moses.” The mental image here is piles and piles of offerings which were first presented to Moses, and who then passed them on to the workmen for the required service.

3 (con’t) So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning.

The word v’hem or “And they” is emphatic here. It is speaking of the Israelites now. There were piles of goods which had been brought, but the people continued to bring more as a nedabah, or “freewill offering.” This is the first time this word is used in the Bible, and it is correctly translated as “freewill.” The people voluntarily gave, they did so with spontaneity, and they continued to give ba’boqer ba’boqer, or “by morning by morning.”

The fact that the offerings are specified as coming in the morning shows that the people labored to make whatever was requested, maybe spinning the yarn or preparing the animal hides, whatever. They worked into the night and excitedly got up and rushed to Moses to present their offerings.

Others surely lay in bed and thought, “Did I give enough yesterday,” or “Tom gave more than me and I feel embarrassed to have done so little.” The thoughts of the night compelled the people to search themselves out and to decide on what gift they would be willing to present the next day. At morning, they would come forward to ease the burden of the call upon their hearts.

Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing,

The word for “craftsmen” here is ha’khakamim. Literally, it means “the wise men.” In other words, they are those with the skills of the labor. They are noted here as suspending their work on the sanctuary, and so there must be an important reason for doing so…

and they spoke to Moses, saying, “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.”

A new word is brought into the Bible here, dai, or enough. In this verse it is connected to the word min, and so it is being used in a comparative sense, thus “more than enough.” There was a need, and the need has been more than met. The Lord commanded the work, the people were asked for an offering, not out of compulsion, and the need is met and even more so. What the Lord has commanded will be realized. This same marvelous sense of giving is seen again in 1 Chronicles where the people gave for the building of the temple in Jerusalem –

“Then the leaders of the fathers’ houses, leaders of the tribes of Israel, the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the officers over the king’s work, offered willingly. They gave for the work of the house of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, into the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly.” 1 Chronicles 26:6-9

And again, in the building of the second temple after the exile of Israel, the people gave as is recorded in both Ezra and Nehemiah. Today, even as we live and breathe, the people of Israel are giving for the building of the next temple. It is sad that it is a misdirected giving in that they have missed Christ in the process.

So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.”

What the previous verse as well as this verse imply, without actually stating it, is the integrity of the workmen and of Moses. If they wanted to, they could have kept gathering up the things brought forward and lined their own pockets with the excess.

Moses could have said, “This will be our pay. Let them bring what they want.” But neither occurred. The workmen had enough for the work and they passed that onto Moses. He was interested in the work of the Lord which was now fully provided for, and so he made it known that it was time to stop bringing offerings.

What is more, the words, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work” indicates that it was the people who were offering things which required labor who seemed to be the most willing to give. The making of thread, yarn, dyed fabrics, and the like is what is specifically being noted. These would be the common people who probably had the least to give, and yet they gave abundantly out of their poverty.

This reminds me of the trip I took in 2010. I stayed with quite a few families as I went around the US. They were all exceptionally kind and took good care of me. But the family that went far beyond their ability to help was the poorest that I stayed with. They literally lived hand to mouth and yet when I left, they had prepared enough food for a travelling army, sending me off with that.

The same was true in the poorest countries that I visited in the past. Those who had nothing, always gave beyond their ability to give, and yet in the more wealthy countries, it was never the case.

On the other side of this same note, it is this poorest group, those who have the least to give, who are always targeted by the false teachers and preachers of the gospel. They know this truth, and they take advantage of it in order to enrich themselves. They promise that the windows of heaven will be opened to their audience if they just give, knowing that they will be taking what cannot be afforded.

If they could, they would even steal the food, half-chewed, out of the mouths of their woefully-cheated flock. Moses will have none of it. He has been told of the surplus and he now speaks out the command to decease and desist from bringing more. It is to such a noble group that the command now goes out.

6 (con’t) And the people were restrained from bringing,

The word here for “restrained,” kala, means just that. It was first used in Genesis 8:2 when the Lord shut up the windows of heaven in order to restrain the rains after the flood. The word gives the sense of a purposeful restraining action. In this case, the people had to be so restrained from giving more. It shows the true desire of them to be considered as having taken a part in the construction of this marvelous edifice. Charles Ellicott notes of this verse –

“The humblest class of contributors would thus appear to have shown itself the most zealous. When will Christian liberality be so excessive as to require to be ‘restrained’?”

for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.

The dai, or sufficiency, of verse 5 is repeated again here. This is bolstered by the use of the same word in the Hebrew to translate both “the material” and “the work.” In essence, it says, “And the work they had was sufficient for all the work to be done.”

Although the verses so far reflect a strong desire for the construction of the sanctuary, we must go back and remember what the construction of the sanctuary implies to fully understand the importance of these verses. In verse 33:3, we read this –

Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”

The Lord had told Moses that He would not go up in their midst. This implied that the tabernacle would not be built and that they would only be led to Canaan, but would not be given the blessing and honor of having the Lord in their midst.

Because of this, the people stripped themselves from that time on of any ornaments. They were a people in mourning at their rejection by the Lord. From this act of contrition, and the mediation of Moses, the Lord relented and agreed to go up in their midst. The sanctuary was to be the proof of His presence and so the offerings were given with that in mind.

The people, in their giving, showed their strongest desire to uphold this covenant relationship with the Lord. And as is the case, it was the lowly and humble who were at the forefront of the process. It is a truth which Paul showed still exists in the church –

“Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-4

The churches of Macedonia were poor and even needy, and yet, they gave beyond their means in order to minister to the saints in Jerusalem. This self-sacrificial giving is more often than not seen in the poorest of the people. They, like the widow whom Jesus highlighted at the temple, give much out of their poverty, while the rich normally give out little in compared to their wealth.

For the service of the Lord, here in His church
What are you willing to give?
Have you something to offer, or will you rest on your perch?
And vainly whittle away this life that you live

Have you a skill or an ability that is of use?
And are you willing to use it in the service of the Lord?
If you have and do not share, what is your excuse?
What other thing have you geared your life toward?

Surely you have a talent or a treasure
Something that can be used to glorify the Lord
And so use it to the full; to the highest measure
Don’t let your gifts to God simply be ignored

For He will reward you, and do so without measure
Seek His glory now and you will receive heavenly treasure

II. The Construction Begins (verses 8-38)

As I said, much of the words of chapters 36-39 are almost identical to the words given to Moses on Mount Sinai in regards to the instructions for building the tabernacle. That section of repetition now begins with verse 8. In most cases, the tenses of the verbs are the only things that make any substantial changes in the details. It would not make any sense to cut and paste those sermon verses when they can be listened to on-line. Rather, we will cover the rest of the chapter today in one large brushstroke.

Then all the gifted artisans among them who worked on the tabernacle made ten curtains woven of fine linen, and of blue, purple, and scarlet thread; with artistic designs of cherubim they made them. The length of each curtain was twenty-eight cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; the curtains were all the same size. 10 And he coupled five curtains to one another, and the other five curtains he coupled to one another. 11 He made loops of blue yarn on the edge of the curtain on the selvedge of one set; likewise he did on the outer edge of the other curtain of the second set. 12 Fifty loops he made on one curtain, and fifty loops he made on the edge of the curtain on the end of the second set; the loops held one curtain to another. 13 And he made fifty clasps of gold, and coupled the curtains to one another with the clasps, that it might be one tabernacle.
14 He made curtains of goats’ hair for the tent over the tabernacle; he made eleven curtains. 15 The length of each curtain was thirty cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; the eleven curtains were the same size. 16 He coupled five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves. 17 And he made fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that is outermost in one set, and fifty loops he made on the edge of the curtain of the second set. 18 He also made fifty bronze clasps to couple the tent together, that it might be one.

In these verses, from verse 8 until verse 18, the details correspond in an exact manner to Exodus 26:1-11. They were detailed in the sermon entitled The Tabernacle and the Tent. Marvelous pictures of Christ were seen at that time.

19 Then he made a covering for the tent of ram skins dyed red, and a covering of badger skins above that.
20 For the tabernacle he made boards of acacia wood, standing upright. 21 The length of each board was ten cubits, and the width of each board a cubit and a half. 22 Each board had two tenons for binding one to another. Thus he made for all the boards of the tabernacle. 23 And he made boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards for the south side. 24 Forty sockets of silver he made to go under the twenty boards: two sockets under each of the boards for its two tenons. 25 And for the other side of the tabernacle, the north side, he made twenty boards 26 and their forty sockets of silver: two sockets under each of the boards. 27 For the west side of the tabernacle he made six boards. 28 He also made two boards for the two back corners of the tabernacle. 29 And they were coupled at the bottom and coupled together at the top by one ring. Thus he made both of them for the two corners. 30 So there were eight boards and their sockets—sixteen sockets of silver—two sockets under each of the boards.
31 And he made bars of acacia wood: five for the boards on one side of the tabernacle, 32 five bars for the boards on the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the tabernacle on the far side westward. 33 And he made the middle bar to pass through the boards from one end to the other. 34 He overlaid the boards with gold, made their rings of gold to be holders for the bars, and overlaid the bars with gold.

In these verses, from verse 19 until verse 34, the details correspond in an exact manner to Exodus 26:14-29. Those verses were mostly detailed in the sermon A Sure Foundation and a Steady Frame. Again, marvelously beautiful pictures of Christ were seen in every verse at that time.

35 And he made a veil of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen; it was worked with an artistic design of cherubim. 36 He made for it four pillars of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold, with their hooks of gold; and he cast four sockets of silver for them.

In these verses, from verse 35 and verse 36, the details correspond in an exact manner to Exodus 26:33, 34. Those details were seen in the sermon The Veil and the Screen. It seems almost impossible to imagine all of the details of Christ which were seen in those verses, but the Lord fit them in for us to marvel over.

37 He also made a screen for the tabernacle door, of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver, 38 and its five pillars with their hooks. And he overlaid their capitals and their rings with gold, but their five sockets were bronze.

These last two verses of the chapter correspond to Exodus 26:36 & 37. They were also covered in that same sermon, The Veil and the Screen.

In all of these verses, there are some translational errors depending on which version you use. For example, in these final two verses, the NKJV continues with the word “tabernacle” of the previous verses in this chapter even though the Hebrew changes from mishkan, meaning “tabernacle,” to ohel, meaning “tent.”

Such errors in translation will easily cause confusion in the reader if they are attempting to do a detailed study such as we have done with the verses in the past. This is why, as I often note, it is really important to not get stuck on a single translation of the Bible. It is detrimental to a right understanding of many important areas of Scripture. It causes people to become myopic and their theology will surely suffer because of it.

In all, we have just gone through the same verses which once took us three complete sermons to get through. If you missed those, you missed more detail than you could really imagine. I would implore you to go back and review them and see what marvelous pictures of Christ are revealed in these 31 verses.

Other than the first seven verses of today’s sermon, nothing new has been introduced to your ears, but those seven verses were enough, I hope, to prompt you to consider your willingness to give in the service of the Lord. And I am not merely talking about coming to the Superior Word. I am referring to what you are willing to do FOR the Lord.

There are skills which you possess, resources which you have, and opportunities which come your way continuously to share of yourself to others and for others. The people of Israel built a sanctuary for the Lord to dwell in. We are a part of a much more marvelous temple that is being built in which God will reside forever.

Each person that comes to the Lord through your efforts, or who is built up in the Lord because of your efforts, is another beautiful stone which is being set in that temple.

Don’t hold back of yourself, but be willing to expend yourself for this marvelous edifice which God is erecting. And if you just happen to be here and are not one of the saved of Christ, let me tell you about His cross and what that means to you…

Closing Verse: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22

Next Week: Exodus 37:1-29 Be sure to invite all your friends by email… (Christ in Every Detail) (100th 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.

The People’s Offering

And Bezalel and Aholiab
And every gifted artisan
In whom the LORD has put wisdom and understanding
Yes, in each and every man

To know how to do all manner of work
For the service of the sanctuary
Shall do according to all that the LORD has commanded
The instructions meticulously, out you shall carry

Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab
And every gifted artisan too
In whose heart the LORD had put wisdom
Everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and the work do

And they received from Moses
All the offering which the children of Israel
Had brought for the work of the service
Of making the sanctuary; they had offered ever so well

So they continued bringing to him, as we read
Freewill offerings every morning; suitable offerings indeed

Then all the craftsmen who were doing
All the work of the sanctuary came
Each from the work he was doing, each task he was pursuing
Yes, all the craftsmen, just the same

And they spoke to Moses, saying
“The people bring much more than enough
For the service of the work
Which the LORD commanded us to do –
They have brought lots of stuff

So Moses gave a commandment
And they caused it to be proclaimed the camp throughout
Saying, “Let neither man nor woman do any more work
For the offering of the sanctuary; we have enough no doubt

And the people were restrained from bringing
For the material they had was sufficient
For all the work to be done—
Indeed too much, nothing requested was now deficient

Then all the gifted artisans among them
Who worked on the tabernacle
Made ten curtains woven of fine linen
And of blue, purple, and scarlet thread; the weaving they did tackle

With artistic designs of cherubim, them they made
They did marvelous work with their trade

The length of each curtain was cubits twenty-eight
And the width of each curtain cubits four
The curtains were all the same size
They were thus made properly for sure

And he coupled five curtains to one another, thus he did do
And the other five curtains he coupled to one another too

He made loops of blue yarn on the edge
Of the curtain on the selvedge of set one
Likewise he did on the outer edge
Of the other curtain of the second set; so it was done

Fifty loops he made on one curtain
And fifty loops he made on the edge of the curtain
On the end of the second set
The loops held one curtain to another, this is for certain

And he made fifty clasps of gold
And coupled the curtains, this job he did tackle
To one another with the clasps
That it might be one tabernacle

He made curtains of goats’ hair for the tent
Over the tabernacle
He made eleven curtains, giving one hundred percent

The length of each curtain was cubits thirty
And the width of each curtain cubits four
The eleven curtains were the same size
And they were made properly for sure

He coupled five curtains by themselves, this he did do
And six curtains by themselves too

And he made fifty loops on the edge
Of the curtain that is outermost in one set
And fifty loops he made on the edge
Of the curtain of the second set, the loops he didn’t forget

He also made fifty bronze clasps, so it was done
To couple the tent together
That it might be one

Then he made a covering for the tent of ram skins dyed red
And a covering of badger skins above that, just as the Lord said

For the tabernacle he made boards
Of acacia wood, standing upright, per the Lord’s words

The length of each board was ten cubits, accordingly
And the width of each board a cubit and a half, you see

Each board had two tenons
For binding one to another, this challenge he did tackle
Thus he made for all the boards
Of the tabernacle

And for the tabernacle, boards he did make
Twenty boards for the south side, this task he did undertake

Forty sockets of silver he made, according to the Lord’s words
To go under the boards twenty
Two sockets for its two tenons under each of the boards

And for the other side of the tabernacle, the north side
He made twenty boards, you see
And their forty sockets of silver
Two sockets under each of the boards, accordingly

For the side of the tabernacle to the west
He made six boards, just as to him the Lord addressed

He made two boards also
For the two back corners of the tabernacle
This is where they did go

And they were coupled at the bottom
And coupled together at the top by one ring
Thus he made both of them
For the two corners, he did accomplish this thing

So there were eight boards
And their sockets—sockets of silver, numbering sixteen
Two sockets under each of the boards
He did this according to the pattern Moses had seen

And he made bars of acacia wood:
Five for the boards on one side of the tabernacle
As was to him made understood

Five bars for the boards on the other side of the tabernacle too
And five bars for the boards of the tabernacle
On the far side westward, so he did do

And he made the middle bar to pass through, as the Lord did intend
The boards from one end to the other end

He overlaid the boards with gold
Made their rings of gold to be holders for the bars
And overlaid the bars with gold, just as he was told

And he made a veil
Of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, so he did entwine
And fine woven linen
It was worked with cherubim in an artistic design

He made for it four pillars of acacia wood
And overlaid them with gold, with their hooks of gold
And he cast four sockets of silver for them
He did this just as the Lord had told

He also made a screen for the tabernacle door
Of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, these three
And fine woven linen, made by a weaver
And its five pillars with their hooks, as it was intended to be

And he overlaid their capitals and their rings with gold
But their five sockets were bronze, just as he was told

Lord God, You have given us instructions in Your word
Things which we are to do as You determine are right
And so help us to be obedient, help us in this Lord
That we may walk in a manner which is pleasing in Your sight

Lord, surely in obedience to You, with this You are pleased
And in this obedience surely all our griefs are eased

And so with this we will press on, our eyes fixed on Jesus
Who is the greatest joy and the highest hope for each of us

Hallelujah and Amen…


Exodus 35:20-35 (Offerings and Artisans)

Exodus 35:20-35
Offerings and Artisans

If you travel around America, especially in the older sections where people moved to and settled, there is one thing you will find of particular note. Normally, right in the center of the original town that was settled, there is a church building. It is where everything else radiates out from.

Further, this is usually the oldest building in the town, or it was built right at the same time as the other oldest buildings. In other words, the people came together to form a community, and while they were either building their own houses, or while they were still living in wagons or tents, they set about to build the house of God where they could meet, worship, marry, bury their dead, and be instructed by the man designated or elected by them to lead them in the pursuit of God.

In ancient Israel, Moses was that man. The people have come out of Egypt and are on their way to the Land of Promise. However, before they arrive there, they are already set to build the place where the Lord will reside. It will be the spot where they come for meeting with Him. It will be right in their midst, and everything else will radiate out from that spot.

When the people finally get to the land of promise, the tabernacle will be set up and it will be the focal point of the land for many years, even until the time of David. He will begin to prepare for the building of a temple, and his son Solomon will be the one to build it. But until then, this tabernacle will be the continuous reminder of the Presence of the Lord living among them.

It’s a sad thought that we no longer set out to establish new communities with a central focus on the Lord. We might build a new town around a Walmart or a factory, but the churches are spread out, away from the town’s center. Quite often, they are missing altogether.

Text Verse: “Thus says the Lord:
‘I will return to Zion,
And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth,
The Mountain of the Lord of hosts,
The Holy Mountain.’ Zechariah 8:3

In the Gentile world, people are still coming to Christ in great numbers. New groups are hearing of the Lord and are building a place where they can go and worship Him. This is so even in the remotest parts of the earth. But for the most part, the more populous places of the earth are moving in the opposite direction.

Their worship is directed to false gods, or to no God at all. While this is occurring, Israel is being prepared for the building of their third temple. It will be where they go to honor the Lord of their past, but not yet in the way that He has determined acceptable. They will go through the tribulation period and at the end of it, He will return to them and dwell in their midst.

He must long for this day, as we all should. The dwelling of the Lord among His chosen people Israel is not something to be taken lightly. It is a sign that He is the covenant keeping Lord who will never fail to keep His promises to them, despite their failures in His presence. The true beginning of the dwelling of the Lord among His people is pictured in His dwelling among Israel in the tabernacle.

The actual beginning of the process of constructing this wonderful edifice is detailed in today’s verses. What a marvelous thing it must have been for these people to anticipate, especially after what they had done with the golden calf. Peace was restored, and the Lord would dwell among them after all.

And so it will be once again after the tribulation period. 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 Willing Offering to the Lord (verses 20-29)

20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.

In the first half of this chapter, three specific divisions were made by the mouth of Moses as directed by the Lord. The first was applicable to all people and came in the form of a command. This was in verses 1-3, and which comprised the law of the Sabbath as pertained to the congregation.

The second was a request from all of the congregation concerning the offering to the Lord. However, it was qualified with the words, “Whoever is of a willing heart.” Within this, there would be divisions as well. Those with a willing heart, do not necessarily mean they have something needed that they could give. Those who had something to give, may not have had a willing heart to give it. And then there are those that both had needed items, and they also had the heart to give.

And finally, the last division spoke to the “gifted artisans” among the people. Those who had an ability for the making of the sacred things were petitioned to come and assist in the work. With these commands, petitions, and instructions now imparted to the people, they are said to have “departed from the presence of Moses.”

They will have to consider the command of the Sabbath, search their goods and their hearts for offerings, and determine if their skills are acceptable for assisting in the making of the things required by the Lord. As they are in the wilderness, time is not a consideration. Rather, there is simply a need for willingness to step forward and demonstrate obedience in the three areas specified.

21 Then everyone came whose heart was stirred,

In Exodus 25:2, when the original call for materials was made to Moses while with the Lord on Sinai, it said, kal ish asher yidevenu libbow, literally “…of every man whose heart impels him.” Now a completely different word is used. It says, kal ish asher nesaow libbow, or basically, “everyone whose heart was lifted up.” Instead of the word nadav, or “impel,” it says nasa or “lift.”

There is then the sense of the removal of a weight which had burdened them. As a congregation, they had departed from the Lord and fashioned a golden calf. The covenant was annulled in Moses’ breaking of the original tablets, and there was the removal of the Lord from the midst of the people.

Instead, He had met with Moses a far distance from the camp. There was no surety as to what their fate would be as Moses once again ascended the mountain and stayed for a second forty-day period petitioning the Lord and being instructed concerning the people. They didn’t even know if He would go with them or not.

Now Moses has returned and given them the news. A tabernacle will be built, and He will be in their midst. He will dwell among His people Israel. The hearts are lifted now in gratitude to that fact.

21 (con’t) and everyone whose spirit was willing,

Only now is the term nadav used. It says, v’kol asher nadevah ruakhow otow – “and everyone whose spirit in him was impelled.” This is the second of eighteen times it will be seen. 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. With their hearts lifted because of the grace and mercy of the Lord, their spirits are now impelled forward in an act of giving.

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.

21 (con’t) and they brought the Lord’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.

Note for your Bible, it says here ohel moed, or “tent of meeting.” The translation should say “tent,” not “tabernacle.” Despite this, the people whose hearts were lifted and whose spirits impelled them are now said to come forward with their offerings.

The word used for offering is terumah. It indicates an offering for sacred use which is lifted up as if exalted. The people probably came, lifted the gift above their heads as a note of devotion to the Lord, and then bowed to place it among the piles of things which were being offered.

One can see in this the contrast between the offering now made to the Lord and that which was made for the golden calf. At that time, Aaron told the people to break off their earrings using a word which implied near violence. Now they humbly bring a terumah which is accompanied by a lifted heart and a willing soul.

22 They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart,

Now in this verse, the heart is described as nadav or “impelled to give.” They first needed to have their hearts lifted. When the heart was lifted, the soul was willing, and now from that the heart is made willing as well. The words show us the process of what is going on. And it is the same as what occurs in us today. When we are dispirited, giving isn’t the first thing on our mind, but when our hearts are lifted up, then our souls will be willing to give, and from that springs forth a willing heart.

The wording of this verse is debated. It says, v’yabou ha’anashim al hannashim – “and they came the men over and above the women.” What it appears to be saying is that the women were the first and prominent givers in the process, and only then the men came forward and gave of their things. If so, it would follow the normal pattern of the ladies being more disposed to such things than men, but their example prompts the men on to giving as well.

22 (con’t) and brought earrings and nose rings, rings and necklaces, all jewelry of gold, that is, every man who made an offering of gold to the Lord.

There are five things which are mentioned here. The first is khakh. It is the first of 7 times it will be seen. The word comes from khoakh which indicates a thorn. That is derived from a root meaning to pierce, as a thorn would pierce. Thus, this is some type of thing which pierces, such as an earring, a nose ring, a hook, or the like. It is used in Ezekiel 38 in this way –

“I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.” Ezekiel 38:4

The next is nezem. These are the same as the earrings mentioned in Exodus 32 when Aaron asked the people to break off their earrings and give them to him for the golden calf.

Next are tabbaath or “rings.” This comes from another word, taba, which means “to sink.” This then gives the idea of a signet which is sunk into clay or wax in order to make a seal. From this comes the idea of any ring. It is the same word used to describe the rings on the Ark, Table of Showbread, and the other things to be made.

Next is mentioned kumaz. This is the first of two times it will be seen. It isn’t sure what it means, but maybe a golden ornament, or perhaps a bracelet. It comes from an unused root meaning “to store away,” and so it is probably some type of jewelry or item that is kept stored away, or that is used to store something away.

And finally is mentioned keli. It is a general word that is widely translated as utensil, implement, article, vessel, and the like. All of these precious gold items were brought forward and waved as a wave offering by the people; an offering of gold to Yehovah. The gold of these items will be used to signify the deity of Christ as well as His kingly authority.

23 And every man, with whom was found blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair, red skins of rams, and badger skins, brought them.

The one major note of disagreement with this verse as far as translation is the word tekhashim, which is translated here as “badger skins.” This is not likely. Rather it is the skins of a sea animal like a seal, porpoise, or a manatee. Older versions made a guess as to what tekhashim meant, and it was not a good guess.

Each of these was previously mentioned and each detail of them was precisely seen to picture the Person and work of Christ. The blue signifies the law; the purple royalty, scarlet pictures war, blood, and/or judgment; fine linen symbolizes righteousness, goats hair signifies an awareness of sin and that it will be punished; the ram skins died red reveal Christ’s atoning blood covering our sin; and the skin of the marine animal pictures Christ’s order and harmony covering us from chaos and confusion

24 Everyone who offered an offering of silver or bronze brought the Lord’s offering.

Again, the call was made for these articles, and the people are found to be obedient in bringing them as well. The silver symbolizes redemption and the bronze judgment. These were brought as an offering lifted up before the Lord.

The silver which is specifically to be used in the tabernacle itself will actually come from a mandatory redemption tax, but this silver may have been used for some unnamed articles for the service of the Lord.

24 (con’t) And everyone with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the service, brought it.

The acacia wood represents the incorruptible nature of Christ’s humanity. This was brought forward for the meleket abodah, or work of labor. It is a fitting choice of words considering what it symbolizes – the work of labor of those items which picture the humanity of the Lord by which He accomplished His earthly work.

25 All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands,

v’kal ishah khakmat lev b’yadeha tavu – “And all the women who were wise of  heart with their hands spun.” Their skill is said to be a skill which is reflected in a wise heart. The word for “spun” is tavah. It will only be used here and in the next verse in the entire Bible. It comes from a root which means “to spin” and thus it simply means, “spun.” The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is said to do this type of labor. There it says –

“She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.” Proverbs 31:19

25 (con’t) and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.

The process of making yarn would be very simple, just as described in the Proverbs. It was probably done by the use of a wheel and a spindle and either with or without a distaff. Once the yarn was spun of the various dyes, or simply made into white fine linen, then it was brought forward as their offering.

26 And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair.

This verse is translated one of two ways. Either it is “the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom, spun goats hair,” or it is “the women whose heart stirred them up, in wisdom, spun goats hair.” The word for “stirred” is the same as that which was used in verse 21, nasa, or “lifted,” rather than nadav, or impelled.”

Either way, what appears to be the case is that the goats hair took a special skill, or more laborious effort than that which went beyond the normal spinning of the other mentioned items. Thus, the different word for the prompting of the heart is used.

And more, as goat’s hair pictures an awareness of sin, the Bible is highlighting this specifically. It shows that these women’s hearts were impelled forward concerning the sin-debt in their lives.

27 The rulers brought onyx stones, and the stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate,

Now are mentioned the nasiim or “rulers.” They are the ones to bring the special stones which would be used on Aaron’s shoulder pieces and on the breastplate of judgment. What we have here has been an order of offerings. The first were ornaments worn on the body, then after that were the special treasures or the possessions of the people, the offering of the labors of the females, and finally the offerings of the rulers which consist of the princely jewels.

28 and spices and oil for the light, for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense.

The rulers also brought the spices and the oil for the light, and those for the special anointing oil and incense as well. It would be expected that the rulers would have such items on hand, whereas the common people would be less likely to have them in their possession. It is no different today where some have Rolex watches and diamond earrings, but the common people have tee shirts and blue jeans. However, in the end, every need that was named is filled by the various people.

29 The children of Israel brought a freewill offering to the Lord, all the men and women whose hearts were willing to bring material for all kinds of work which the Lord, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.

This verse is translated in a surprising number of ways, and yet most of them get the general sense of what is being said. The people, both men and women, whose hearts had been willing, are the ones who brought, for every kind of work, the things that Yehovah commanded to be done, by the hand of Moses, which were to be brought by the children of Israel as a willing offering to Yehovah. Concerning all of the previous details since verse 21, Matthew Henry states –

“Without a willing mind, costly offerings would be abhorred; with it, the smallest will be accepted. Our hearts are willing, when we cheerfully assist in promoting the cause of God. Those who are diligent and contented in employments considered mean, are as much accepted of God as those engaged in splendid services. The women who spun the goats’ hair were wise-hearted, because they did it heartily to the Lord. Thus the labourer, mechanic, or servant who attends to his work in the faith and fear of God, may be as wise, for his place, as the most useful minister, and he equally accepted of the Lord. Our wisdom and duty consist in giving God the glory and use of our talents, be they many or few.” Matthew Henry

He is correct in this, and what is implied in both verse 22 and in this verse, is that there were some whose hearts weren’t stirred up. They were neither lifted up, nor were they impelled, to give of their goods in the service of the Lord. They are the same people today who will gladly sit on the sidelines and let nothing change their demeanor, even when something is hoped for or needed.

And of course, there were certainly some who came forward hoping everyone would see that they were giving, even though their hearts didn’t give a hoot about the cause. Jesus addressed those types in Matthew 6.

In the end, the Lord is looking on the heart, and He is looking for those who have their hearts lifted up towards Him, and who are willing to give without expecting anything in return. For Israel, they would be given the honor of having Him dwell in their presence in a magnificent edifice. What more reward could they ask for?

How much can I give Lord; from You I have received so much
I know that what I give is never enough
I have been blessed with Your salvation, grace, mercy, and such
My life is abundantly blessed when it once was so rough

Now, even the worst of times is filled with joy
I have a hope which transcends the troubles of this world
How much can I give Lord, for others to employ
Let my heart be appreciative of the wonders You have unfurled

Help me to never be tight-fisted or to turn away from a need
Grant me the heart to respond in turn as You have blessed me
When I see a lack that needs filling, may I fill it with speed
May my heart be willing to share, and to do so joyfully

II. Bezalel and Aholiab (verses 30-35)

30 And Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;

Bezalel was specifically named by the Lord in Exodus 31. These verses now are exceedingly similar to those of Exodus 31:1-6. Moses simply repeats the words of Yehovah to the people, and the only substantial differences in them are to be found in the additional words of verses 34 and 35.

The name Betsalel is formed of three parts. The el at the end means “God.” The “b” at the beginning signifies “in.” and the middle part comes from the noun tsel, meaning shadow. Thus his name means “In the Shadow of God.” As shade is considered a protection, like the tabernacle, his name is a metaphor for “In the Protection of God.”

He is the son of Uri, which means something like either “My Light” or “Light of Yehovah.” The name of Uri’s father is Hur which means “White.” And Judah means Praise. It is Bezalel who will be the chief artificer for the construction of the tabernacle and everything associated with it. This is because of the next words…

31 and He has filled him with the Spirit of God,

The term male or “fill” gives the idea of being set apart or consecrated for a specific task. In this case, he is said to be filled with the ruakh elohim or “Spirit of God.” This means that his work will be acceptable concerning the things which are required for him to accomplish. In this case, he is said to be specifically filled in four particular ways…

31 (con’t) in wisdom

The word is khokmah. It signifies wisdom in a good sense. It is a common word, but it is used a great deal the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. It refers to understanding which is rightly applied in a wise, prudent, or beneficial way.

31 (con’t) and understanding,

The word is tebunah. It indicates discretion, reason, skillfulness, understanding, and wisdom. Again, it is mostly used in Proverbs and it indicates an ability to comprehend. A man may see a storm coming and say, “Gee, it’s going to rain,” but he may not understand that the lightening in the storm can reach out beyond the storm itself and kill him before the storm even arrives. Having a knowledge of something does not mean that there is an understanding of the thing.

31 (con’t) in knowledge

The word is daath. It was first seen in Genesis 2:9 when speaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It indicates knowledge in the general sense. One is either aware of something or they are not. If they are, then they can use that for understanding or even in wisdom. In this we can think of empirical, experimental, or experiential knowledge.

Therefore, we can rightly assume that Bezalel was probably already able to accomplish the things necessary for the work to be done. He had empirical knowledge, experimental knowledge, and experiential knowledge, all of which comprised who he was based on what he had already learned.

31 (con’t) and all manner of workmanship,

The word is melakah. It is the same as the word malak, or angel, and so it signifies employment in a task or job, but never in a servile way. Rather it would be in an industry or occupation. Just as an angel or a messenger has his duty to carry out, this indicates the ability to accomplish the task at hand by employing the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom one possesses.

In every aspect – in his name, in the name of his father and grandfather, in the tribe he descends from, and in his skills and abilities – in each of these he makes a marvelous picture of Christ. If you missed the sermon where he was introduced, it would be worth the time to go back and see how intricately each of these aspects of him points to the coming Christ.

In just his aspects of workmanship, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, he is seen as a marvelous type of Christ who possesses the Holy Spirit without measure, and “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

32 to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze,

All of the tasks and designs for the sanctuary had been laid out in minute detail by the Lord to Moses. It would be Bezalel who would be in charge of carrying out the work. The designs which needed to be made, the gold that needed to be shaped, the silver which needed to be refined and poured into molds or beaten into implements, and the bronze which needed to be formed as necessary – all of it required the work of a master craftsman.

Bezalel was selected for the task, and he was capable of seeing it to its completion. The Lord knew him and his capabilities, and he was selected as the perfect artificer for the job, and the perfect picture of Christ to come. But the tasks thus far mentioned are not the total of his abilities. He could do even more…

33 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship.

The word for both cutting and carving is the same. In other words, the stones to be cut and the wood to be carved uses this same rare word, kharosheth. In this noun form, it is found only here and in Exodus 31:5 when Bezalel was first introduced. It indicates mechanical work such as carved or cut, and it is actually a noun, but it is almost exclusively translated as a verb.

34 “And He has put in his heart the ability to teach,

These words are not a part of what was recorded in Exodus 31. Not only would Bezalel have the abilities to form everything necessary to build the edifice and implements, but he would also have the ability to teach. What he could do was not to be limited to him, but he would be an instructor of others who would participate in the process until completion. And this is true with another person…

34 (con’t) in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.

Another person who would have the gift of teaching would be Aholiab. The name Aholiab comes from av, which means “father,” and ohel, which means “tent.” Therefore, the name means “Father’s Tent,” just as the tabernacle pictures the Father’s Tent. He is the son of Ahisamach which means “My Brother has Supported.” And finally, he is from the tribe of Dan which means “Judge.” Again, like Bezalel, everything about him points to Christ.

*35 He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works.

The passage and the chapter end today with these words. Several categories of workmen are specified – the kharash, or the engraver, would more aptly be called an artificer. He would be skilled in cutting stone as well as engraving it. The word also means a person who might be a skilled cutter of wood, or an iron worker, etc.

The next is the “designer.” The verb used to describe him indicates “to consider,” and so he who would “count and calculate the threads in weaving figures after the manner of tapestry or carpet. His work was chiefly used in the curtains and veil of the tabernacle, in the ephod and the breastplate” (Albert Barnes).

The next is the “tapestry maker” who works in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and in fine linen. The verb describes a weaver, and so he would work with a needle, weaving and embroidering the materials for the entrance curtains of the tent and of the court. He was also the one who fashioned the sash of the high priest.

And then the weaver is mentioned with the qualifying words “who do every work and those who design artistic works.” This would probably be the person who worked on the loom. The things he made would have been then used for the robe of the ephod, along with its binding, and also for the garments of the priests.

What is seemingly certain to me is that these people were folks already capable and able to accomplish these tasks. If further instruction was necessary, they had the direction of Bezalel and Aholiab to guide them.

And the same is true with us. We already have abilities when we come to Christ. What we need to do is to direct them towards our new calling in Him. We certainly don’t need to look for an external zapping of the Spirit to make us qualified to do the Lord’s work. What we need to do is to take what we have and apply it in a wise and considered way.

Another thing that we can see in the gathering together and formation of this tabernacle by the work of the people is that it leads us to a marvelous picture of Christ. God created the heavens and the earth. He has directed the course of nations and by His hand each thing happens so that redemptive history continues on as it should.

Each earthquake, or each war is used in His plan. Each person who is born or dies is known to Him. Some are raised by Him to be kings, while others die in obscurity. He is sovereign over all that happens. With this understanding, we come to the obvious thought that He could have simply caused the tabernacle to come into being and then moved in.

But instead, He went to the people to receive the materials from them. He then had them take those materials and fashion them according to the plan that He had laid down. The people who did the work were already known to Him and were used by Him to bring the thing into existence in the form that He determined.

And this is exactly how Christ came about as well, at least His humanity. God chose the selected form, and directed the materials that would form the Man. There was Adam, and there was Methuselah. Along came Abraham and Sarah as well as Lot and both of His daughters. Israel and Judah and Tamar were all brought forward.

Ruth, David, and Solomon were directed into this genealogy along without countless others, some named, but many completely unknown to us. Each life was a part of the weaving together of the fabric of the Man who would come.

Just as the Tabernacle was used of materials from God’s creation, but which passed through humanity in order to be returned to Him to build this sanctuary, each and every detail of which points to Christ, so the materials of which these people were comprised passed through humanity in order to be returned to Him to form the human aspect of Christ.

And as the ruakh elohim, or “Spirit of God” endowed these men with the ability to form that which came into their hands, the Spirit of God also formed in Christ to erect the more perfect edifice which is the humanity of our Lord; an edifice where the Spirit of God is found without measure.

But on top of this, these men were also given the ability to teach. And this is one of the great titles of the Lord Jesus, Teacher. Time and again, the title is used of Him in the gospels. From there, we deduce that if there is a Teacher, then He must have students who would carry out the work with and for Him.

That is where disciples and apostles came in. They were taught by the Lord how to form the various parts of the great edifice which God is building, of which we are a part. This is seen in the writings of the New Testament. As Peter and Paul and the others are not with us now, then we must have something from them that tells us how we are to be shaped so that we too will properly fit into this marvelous building… and we do.

It is the Holy Bible. Christ is, in fact, the great Artificer. And He is also the great Teacher. He then instructed others who have written down what He expects of us, the materials of this house of God which are continuing to be brought forth for His workmanship even today.

It should not be enough to say, “I am a living stone which will be placed in God’s temple.” Rather, it should be our goal to be the most perfect living stone possible. We have all of the instructions necessary to be just that if we will only avail ourselves of them.

Today and every day, I would hope that you would continue to perfect yourself though first an understanding of God’s word, and then secondly to a right application of it. If you do these things, then you will be a prominent part of the magnificent thing which God is erecting as His eternal dwelling.

Please don’t waste the few moments you have here on earth in chasing after the wind. Look unto Christ, pursue Christ, and endeavor to be more Christ-like in all ways and at all times. Before you know it, the life you are living will be over and your eternity will begin. It is an eternity which will be based on a very, very short span of time. Use it well.

And if you have never taken the time to first call out to Christ to begin this process, today is the day. You cannot be a part of God’s building if you are not the redeemed of the Lord. His cross is what makes that possible and it is what You need for it to come about…

Closing Verse: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22

Next Week: Exodus 36:1-38 Every need will be met in this proffering… (The People’s Offering) (99th 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.

Offerings and Artisans

And all the congregation of the children of Israel
Departed from the presence of Moses, after the things he did tell

Then everyone came whose heart was stirred
And everyone whose spirit was willing, not as if competing
And they brought the LORD’s offering
For the work of the tabernacle of meeting

For all its service, and for the holy garments too
Fulfilling each need as requested to do

They came, both men and women
As many as had a willing heart
And brought earrings and nose rings
Rings and necklaces, this was a great start

All jewelry of gold, that is, according to this word
Every man who made an offering of gold to the LORD

And every man, with whom was found
Blue, purple, and scarlet thread
Fine linen, and goats’ hair, which did abound
Red skins of rams, and badger skins, brought them as is said

Everyone who offered an offering
Of silver or bronze brought the LORD’s offering
And everyone with whom was found acacia wood
For any work of the service, brought it as their proferring

All the women who were gifted artisans
Spun yarn with their hands

And brought what they had spun
Of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen
They brought the work that they had done

And all the women whose hearts stirred
With wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair, according to the word

The rulers brought onyx stones, as was right
And the stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate
And spices and oil for the light
For the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense
The offering was great

The children of Israel brought
A freewill offering to the LORD
All the men and women whose hearts were willing
To bring material for all kinds of work, according to the word

Which the LORD, by Moses’ hand
Was to be done at His command

And Moses said to the children of Israel
“See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel

The son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah
And He has filled him with the Spirit of God
In wisdom and understanding
In knowledge and all manner of workmanship, ability so broad

To design artistic works, as was understood
To work in gold and silver and bronze too
In cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood
And to work in all manner of artistic workmanship they were to do

And He has put in his heart the ability to teach each man
In him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan

He has filled them to do all manner with skill
Of work of the engraver and the designer
And the tapestry maker, according to His will

In blue, purple, and scarlet thread
And fine linen, and of the weaver as well
Those who do every work
And those who design artistic works, as the account does tell

Lord God, help us to learn from Your word
May we give willingly of ourselves and of what we possess
Let us be thankful and thus glorify our Lord
Who has beautifully fashioned what was once such a mess

May the lives that we lead be comparable to what He has done
May we live for Him following in the life He lived for us
His perfect life was lived and through it victory was won
Help us, O God, to emulate our marvelous Lord Jesus

Yes, O God, and to You we shall forever sing out our praise
And to You we shall come with these offerings for eternal days

Hallelujah and Amen…