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…


Exodus 35:1-19 (A Call to Service)

Exodus 35:1-19
A Call to Service

In today’s passage, as with next week’s as well, we will have a significant amount of repetition. However, it is repetition which stems from passages going all the way back through all of the instructions for the construction of the sanctuary.

If you remember more than 1% of what we talked about in those sermons, you have an excuse to nap while we review. However, I’m going to hand out a proficiency test to make sure you qualify before your nap is approved.

In all honesty, as I was reviewing these verses and getting things prepared, I was astonished at how much I didn’t retain. Going back over those 22 sermons, I couldn’t believe the amount of detail we covered. The symbolism of Christ in each of the things described to Moses is overwhelming.

If you missed those sermons, you missed a great deal and I would encourage you to take the time and listen to them. For now, what was presented to Moses will be restated to the people, calling them to holiness in life and holiness in conduct.

The call to holiness in life will be by a short explanation of the Law of the Sabbath. The calling to holiness in conduct will come by a request for offerings of material and service from the people. Now think about that from our perspective today. Is it any different?

We have been called to holiness by resting in Christ – what He has accomplished. That is our first obligation. After that, we have been called to holiness by giving of our possessions in the service of Christ, and then of the giving of ourselves in a more complete service to Christ.

I am going to repeat this thought in just a few minutes during the sermon in hopes that it will sink in through the repetition. What Israel did is the same thing that we are asked to do.

Text Verse: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1, 2

The only difference between Israel and us is that they worked and then rested. We rest and then we work. They gave of their goods, they gave of their lives, and then they rested in anticipation of the Messiah’s promised rest which was yet ahead.

We rest in that which they looked forward to. In this completion of His work, we then are given the chance to give of our goods and then of our lives. Please though, do not think of this as a call for you to give to the Superior Word. That has never been something we have done, nor will it ever be. And yet the Lord has always provided.

It is up to you where you give your tangible gifts and your gifts of service, but you are to give. You can’t be a living sacrifice if you aren’t sacrificing. The animal on the altar which was presented by the people to God died there by the altar.

We on the other hand died on the altar with Christ, and now we are to live for Christ as that gift being offered to God. In whatever way you determine, and as the Lord prospers you, so you should return yourself to the Lord.

The call is made today by Moses. It is a call which contrasts a shameful act of giving not long passed. After the call is made, work on the Lord’s dwelling place can begin. And you, the call was made and you responded. Now, you should be actively working on being a more perfect part of that more perfect temple which the Lord is building.

Types and shadows of the reality we now live in Christ are seen in today’s passage. So let’s get into it. 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. The Law of the Sabbath (verses 1-3)

Then Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together,

The word “gathered” here comes from the verb qahal, which means “to gather as an assembly.” It comes from the more common noun qahal, which is the assembly itself. It was first used in this verb form in Exodus 32:1 when the people “gathered together to Aaron” in order to demand the making of a golden calf.

Now it is used for the second time in complete contrast to that. Instead of gathering together for disobedience to the Lord and His commands, they are being called together for honoring Him. He has spared them despite their rebellion, and because of His mercy, Moses is calling them together as a people to come and learn the way of holiness.

In today’s verses, we will see three separate sections by which they will learn this way. Each step is carefully positioned and methodically presented in order for the people to understand this way of holiness.

He will begin with the external display of how they are expected to live in this manner by repeating the Sabbath requirement to them once again. He will then continue with this in asking them for donations of articles in order to build the sanctuary which will stand in their midst, and from which, their means of interacting with Him in holiness will come about.

After this, he will then ask for those who have the abilities to make the things mandated out of those same offerings. In this, they will learn of the sanctification of the people by the Lord for sacred purposes.

Each step in its own order is a reflection of the process of sanctification of the people. They must first be given the law which reflects their sign as a people. This is done in the repetition of the Sabbath law. The next is a giving of what one possessed in honor of the Lord. And the third is the giving of oneself in the service of the Lord.

In the church, there are those who are saved and who are given the sign of that salvation, baptism. This reflects the baptism of the Holy Spirit which was received upon belief in Christ. There are next those who are obedient in the giving of their possessions to build and sustain the ministry of the Lord. And then there are those who are set apart to minister to the Lord with their lives, and according to their abilities. This is what we are seeing reflected in these verses today.

1 (con’t) and said to them, “These are the words which the Lord has commanded you to do:

These words should rightfully have been placed after Exodus 31:18, a full eight sermons ago. This was when the Lord handed the first two tablets of stone to Moses. He should have simply received them, turned down the mountain, and found the people respectfully and obediently awaiting his return with the word of the Lord for the future conduct of their lives.

Instead, chapter 32 introduced the sin of the golden calf and all that occurred after that. Instead of a joyous regathering of Moses to the people, there was wrath, indignation, and death associated with his return. Because of that incident, a new direction in the law came about as well.

We have to keep reminding ourselves that none of those things were unknown to God, and they were ultimately a part of His unfolding plan. However, it doesn’t change the nature of the catastrophe which came upon the people. Nor does it change the many variations in direction which resulted in the occurrences of those intervening chapters.

Moses’ shining face was given as a permanent reminder to the people of this. And when I say permanent, it is a reminder which continues to this day. Only in Christ is the veil taken away and the glory of God revealed in a new and marvelous way. As you can see, everything occurred as it should.

The intervening eight chapters have formed an integral part of the unfolding plan of the ages. Understanding that, we now return to where the account left off. The last thing before the giving of the original tablets of the commandments to Moses was that of the Law of the Sabbath.

As I said, the giving of the Sabbath law to the people in connection with the building of the tabernacle was for the purpose of tying it into the sanctuary. The sanctuary is where the Lord is to reside. It signifies that He is dwelling among the people.

Once again, the reason for the Sabbath’s inclusion here is because it, like every other detail which has been given concerning the tabernacle ultimately points to Christ – His Person and His work, for us. That physical manifestation of the tabernacle being among the people is now realized in the giving of the Spirit to the believer in His finished work.

This is why the Sabbath is no longer required. The rest which was anticipated for God’s people is realized in His completion of the work of the law. And this is why Hebrews 4:3 now says that we who have believed, do enter that rest.

In the Old Covenant, man worked and then rested. In the New Covenant, man rests and then works. A picture is made of the process of salvation in the two dispensations. Israel worked six days and then rested on the Sabbath. It was an anticipation of the time of rest which lay ahead when all things would be restored.

We rest in Christ and then do works for Christ, not for salvation, but for our walk in Christ and in anticipation of our heavenly rewards. This is all reflected first in the law of the Sabbath, and then in the fulfillment of it in Christ. Now, that law is briefly summarized for the people to hear…

Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the Lord.

The Law of the Sabbath was given in Exodus 31:12-17. However, this first spoken mandate by Moses to the people actually parallels only verse 15. Although not a direct quote, it carries all of the substance of that verse. Also, he has abbreviated the substance of the words that were given to him, but the main point of the instruction is carefully repeated here to the people.

They are to work six days and then have a shabbath shabbaton, or a Sabbath of rest to the Lord as a holy day. The instructions for the building of the tabernacle lie just ahead. Its construction though was not to take precedence over the Sabbath. Rather, they were to rest each week from their work. Of the words of this verse, Joseph Benson says –

“Work for the tabernacle, but on the seventh day they must not strike a stroke, no, not at the tabernacle work; the honour of the sabbath was above that of the sanctuary.” Joseph Benson

This is not correct. The Sabbath has no more honor than the sanctuary. As we have seen and will see again, every detail of the sanctuary points to Christ. The Sabbath rest also points to Christ. It simply would make no sense to work for Christ on a day which points to Christ. In fact, in Leviticus 26:2, the Sabbath and reverence for the sanctuary are tied together in one thought –

“You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary:
I am the Lord.” Leviticus 26:2

Though the Israelites didn’t realize these things, we now do. What was given in type and shadow is realized in the marvelous Lord who fulfilled those same types and shadows. The Sabbath was to be a day the people heeded according to the word of the Lord. If they didn’t heed, the penalty is now repeated from chapter 31 –

2 (con’t) Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.

These words here also reflect the substance of Exodus 31:15. The Sabbath looked forward to the coming “rest of God” which was lost when man was cast out of Eden. When Adam disobeyed the word of the Lord, his punishment was –

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19

Man was destined to work in order to survive, implying that this was not previously the case. During my sermon on the Law of the Sabbath, one person – obviously caught up in the legalism of either the 7th Day Adventists, or some Hebrew Roots movement, argued that the Sabbath was God’s standard for man all along; it was an eternal edict.

Not only can that not be inferred in Scripture at all, it is completely false. I directed him back to the original giving of the Sabbath in Exodus 16 where it was first presented to man. One has to remember that Genesis 2 was not recorded until the time of Moses. Here is what Genesis 2:1-3 says –

“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”

After that, nothing is mentioned of the seventh day for rest until Exodus 16. And the words that were used in that sermon were very specific, showing that it was now a new aspect of God’s dealings with man. Further, it was a new aspect which dealt solely with the people of Israel.

The heresy of Sabbath observance as a necessary requirement in today’s church is truly sad. All the information we need for salvation is found in Paul’s epistles. He, as the apostle to the Gentiles, defines clearly and precisely what we need to do to be saved; what we need to do in order to be pleasing to God; and how to also instruct others in meeting those same goals.

Nowhere in his writings does he ever indicate anything concerning the Sabbath, except to argue against it as an observance. This is especially so in Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16, 17, but it is implicitly true in everything he writes.

What part of the concept of “grace” these heretics don’t understand is hard to grasp. It is a simple word with a simple meaning, as is the concept of a gift. One does not work in order to receive a gift. And though the Sabbath is a day of not actively working, it is a day of spiritual work in order to not physically work. That is realized in the next verse…

You shall kindle no fire throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day.”

One must do something in order to not actively do something. Along with all the other things that the people have already been instructed to not do on the Sabbath day, a new requirement is now added in. No fire is to be kindled in any dwelling on the Sabbath. This thought can be taken as an addendum to what was stated in Exodus 16:23 –

Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’” Exodus 16:23

No manna was provided on the Sabbath and so they were to prepare their food a day in advance of the Sabbath. As a further restraint, they were told to not even kindle a fire. To kindle a fire was a laborious process of work. As food wasn’t cooked, they were not to consider making a fire for any other reason as well. As John Lange says about this –

“The addition, prohibiting the kindling of fire, indicates that the law of the Sabbath is made more rigorous in the matter of abstinence.” John Lange

The Israelites were to actively abstain from work in every possible way. Now in Christ, we are given a different aspect of the same precept. We are not told to actively abstain from every work in order to attempt to merit God’s favor. Instead, we are to rest in the finished work of Christ. In the end, whether before the cross or after, it is all done in relation to Christ.

Another great scholar of times past, Matthew Henry, does a terrible job of his analysis of these two Sabbath verses. He says –

“The mild and easy yoke of Christ has made our sabbath duties more delightful, and our sabbath restraints less irksome, than those of the Jews; but we are the more guilty by neglecting them. Surely God’s wisdom in giving us the sabbath, with all the mercy of its purposes, are sinfully disregarded. Is it nothing to pour contempt upon the blessed day, which a bounteous God has given to us for our growth in grace with the church below, and to prepare us for happiness with the church above?” Henry

Matthew Henry errs in his analysis like many others in moving the Saturday Sabbath to a Sunday Sabbath. There is no such thing as a Sunday Sabbath. The Sabbath is Saturday, the seventh day of the week. In its fulfillment, it ended.

Again, if one departs from Paul’s doctrine for the church age, there is no doctrine for the church age. All theology thus becomes a pick and choose path to God. As we close out this section, let us remember a few key points. The Sabbath is a part of the law; the law is fulfilled in Christ and annulled. Salvation is a gift which comes by grace. A gift cannot be earned; grace is unmerited favor.

Attempting to be justified before God through works sets aside both the notion of receiving a gift as well as the granting of grace. Rest in Christ, trust in Christ, and be pleased to be reconciled to God solely by the work of Christ. Thank God for Jesus Christ.

I am the Lord who sanctifies you
In Me you shall find your rest
What I look for is faith that is true
And in this, I shall put you to the test

I am the Lord, pay heed unto Me
For I will give you a Day of rest
If you will simply trust, you will see
That in My presence you will be eternally blessed

Come unto Me, you who are weary
And in My presence there will be peaceful rest
Come unto Me, leave your life so dreary
If the land of Paradise-restored is your hope-filled quest

II. An Offering to the Lord (verses 4-9)

And Moses spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, “This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying:

These words begin the second and final major section of the chapter which will be divided into four smaller sections. Moses will first recount the substance of Exodus 25:2-7 which concerns the offering of the people for the construction of the sanctuary.

The Hebrew reads zeh haddavar asher tsivah Yehovah. “This the word that commanded, Yehovah.” It is to be remembered that it was not long before that the incident with the golden calf had occurred. At that time, the people has said this to Aaron –

“Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Exodus 32:1

In response to that, it says –

“And Aaron said to them, ‘Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’” Exodus 32:2

Once the calf was fashioned, Aaron indicated it was a representation of Yehovah. The people had willingly given their treasure for a false god. Now, Moses would ask something of them as directed by the true God…

‘Take from among you an offering to the Lord.

This is to be an offering “to Yehovah.” It is thus infinitely more worthy than for the false idol to which they willingly broke off their earrings. Everything that is needed can be expected to be obtained from this offering.

It would make no sense for the Lord to plan on the construction of it without knowing in advance that each and every thing that was necessary for its completion would be available. Understanding this, it will still require the stirring of the hearts of the people to give what they possess. However, there would be no “breaking off” or “tearing away” their prized possessions like Aaron asked of them. Instead, they were asked to let their hearts guide them…

5 (con’t) Whoever is of a willing heart,

A new word is introduced here, nadiv. It is an adjective which comes from the verb nadav which means willing. Nadiv means “free” or “liberal” or even a noble or a prince. The idea is that a noble person would be a charitable giver. This is what the Lord is asking for concerning the materials for the sanctuary; giving with a charitable heart.

5 (con’t) let him bring it as an offering to the Lord:

The offering, or terumah, is something which is “lifted up” to the Lord. It is an acknowledgment of His exalted status, and thus the offering is to be lifted up as an oblation to Him. This is set in complete contrast to that which was given for the making of the golden calf. The difference could not be any more distinct.

The requesting of these materials, and the direction for the construction of the sanctuary, is an understood proclamation that the covenant relationship has been restored, and that the Lord has agreed to be Israel’s God and to dwell among them in that capacity. And so the materials are now named. Each was described in minute detail in the past as to their symbolism in Christ. Here we will just briefly look at each…

5 (con’t) gold, silver, and bronze;

zahav, or gold, is the finest of the biblical metals. It symbolizes purity and holiness, royalty, and divinity. keseph, or silver is another precious metal which is associated with redemption. nekhosheth, or bronze, mainly symbolizes judgment, but also endurance. The judgment can be negative, such as in punishment, or it can be of judgment in purification and justification.

blue, purple, and scarlet thread, fine linen, and goats’ hair;

tekeleth, or blue, is associated with the law, especially the keeping of the law. argaman, or purple is a purple or blue/red. It speaks of royalty or that which pertains to or belongs to a king. It is a mixture of blue and red, and so it is a combination of what those two colors mean – the law for blue; and war, blood, and/or judgment for red.

towlaat shani, or literally, red worms. Together, the words are translated as “scarlet,” but implying the scarlet which comes from the towla or crimson-grub worm. This scarlet, or red, pictures war, blood, and/or judgment. shesh, or fine linen symbolizes righteousness. izzim, or goat hair symbolizes awareness of sin and that it will be punished.

ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood;

orot elim me’addamim, or skins of rams dyed red, symbolize power and protection in the skins, and of atonement for sin in the dyed red color. orot tekhashim, does not indicate badger skins. Rather, it indicates skins of porpoise or a sea cow. The sea is representative of the world of chaos, confusion and rebellion. Thus these skins symbolize protection from that. Within, there is order, harmony, and peace. atse shittim, or wood acacias, symbolize humanity, but more, humanity which is incorruptible. Therefore, it symbolizes Christ’s humanity.

oil for the light, and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense;

shemen la’maor, or oil for lighting, symbolizes the presence of the Spirit, which is for spiritual understanding; specifically that which provides illumination. besamim l’shemen ha’miskhah, or spice for anointing oil, symbolizes the anointing of the Holy Spirit first for Christ’s work, and then that which is given to us through Christ’s work.

liqtoreth ha’sammim , or incense fragrant, symbolizes prayer to God, but specifically acceptable prayers to God.

onyx stones,

avne shoham , or stones onyx, are mentioned in addition to those to be used in the shoulder piece of the ephod on the high priest. Because of this, they are probably specifically to be for the Urim and Thummim. If this is so, and it is likely, then they signify intercession on behalf of the people.

9 (con’t) and stones to be set in the ephod and in the breastplate.

avne milluim la’ephod v’lakhoshen, or “stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastplate.” Exodus 28:9 tells us that the stones for the shoulder piece of the ephod are to be onyx stones. Thus they symbolize the bearing of the burden of the people in a mediatorial role.

The other stones which are to be used in the breastplate of judgment are specifically named in Exodus 28:17-20. The exact identity of many of these stones is unknown, but because they are in the breastplate of judgment, they symbolize the judgment rendered for God’s people through the work of Christ.

Hints of Christ in every detail of the book
Waiting for us to study and show ourselves approved
What a marvel when we open it up and look
How our souls are stirred! How our hearts are moved

Christ is there, it all speaks of Him and His work
What He has done for us was all told in advance
Let us not fail to look for Him, let us not this obligation shirk
Each discovery is like joining in a heavenly dance

Thank You for this marvel, Your precious superior word
It is filled with wonder! It is beautiful and marvelous
Christ is there in every detail; it’s all about our Lord
Yes, every single verse tells us of our Lord Jesus

III. The Lord’s To-Do List (verse 10-19)

10 ‘All who are gifted artisans among you shall come and make all that the Lord has commanded:

The call is now made from the general of the previous section – meaning all who had a willing heart, to the specific of this section – meaning all who are gifted artisans. Those specifically for the work of this section who were mentioned before were Bezalel and Aholiab in Exodus 31:2-10, and the others in Exodus 28:3 for making of garments.

Those whom the Lord already knew are now being called for the service of making this marvelous dwelling place for the Lord God. In it, there is a logical order to what we will see next. First, the tabernacle is mentioned. This is followed up immediately with those things by which it will be constructed.

After this, will come the contents of the tabernacle. First for the Most Holy Place, then the Holy Place, and then the furniture which is outside of the tabernacle in the courtyard. After that, those things which comprise the courtyard itself. Then the pegs are mentioned, first for the tabernacle and then for the court – with their cords. Finally the garments for each aspect of the ministry are given.

We will go over them without any detail because all of the details have already been given in the past.

11 the tabernacle, its tent, its covering, its clasps, its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets;

In this verse, two separate words are used – ha’mishkan, or “the tabernacle,” and “aholow” or “its tent.” The two are distinct things and are not to be confused. Each of the items mentioned in this verse perfectly and beautifully prefigure Christ.

12 the ark and its poles, with the mercy seat, and the veil of the covering;

The ark and its mercy seat is mentioned in Exodus 25:10-22. The veil is detailed in Exodus 26:31-33. In this verse, the term paroketh ha’masak, or “veil of the covering” is now used instead of simply the paroketh, or veil. It is still speaking specifically of the veil which divides the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place, but a fuller name is given here.

The ark symbolizes Christ, the embodiment of, and thus the fulfillment of, the law. The mercy seat is Christ our satisfaction of the law through His shed blood. The veil represents Christ’s body through which we have restored access to God.

13 the table and its poles, all its utensils, and the showbread;

This is speaking of the table of showbread which was mentioned in Exodus 25:23-30. It, in short, details Christ our Bread, and thus our source and sustenance of life.

14 also the lampstand for the light, its utensils, its lamps, and the oil for the light;

The menorah and its associated articles are mentioned in Exodus 25:31-40. It was an amazing study, every detail of which pointed to Christ – the Servant, our Messiah, our Light, our Wise Counselor, our Word of God, our Giver of the dispensations of time, and so much more. The symbolism of the menorah is so exceptional that we will never fully realize everything it portrays.

15 the incense altar, its poles, the anointing oil, the sweet incense,

The incense altar was detailed much later in the instructions provided to Moses. It wasn’t until Exodus 30:1-10 that it was named. The anointing oil and the sweet incense came later in that same chapter. They were detailed in order from verse 22-38.

The incense altar pointed to Christ’s intercessory work for us. The anointing oil minutely detailed Christ’s work which was accomplished for us, and the sweet incense symbolizes His ongoing work for us as our Mediator and Intercessor.

15 (con’t) and the screen for the door at the entrance of the tabernacle;

This screen door was the covering entranceway into the tabernacle itself. It is described in Exodus 26:26, 27. It symbolized the work of Christ for us which allows us access once again into the heavenly realms. In short, it pictures Christ, our Door to salvation.

16 the altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating, its poles, all its utensils,

This altar is detailed in Exodus 27:1-8. In short, it symbolizes Christ, our judgment on sin and thus our Justifier.

16 (con’t) and the laver and its base;

This item was mentioned seemingly out of place as a few others were, in Exodus 30:17-21. However, as we saw, it was actually perfectly placed. In short, it signifies among other things Christ, our Sanctifier and Purifier.

17 the hangings of the court, its pillars, their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court;

These things were detailed in order in Exodus 27:9-19. They symbolize those things which Christ accomplished in His ministry and which are open and visible to all who are willing to simply look. They portray the evident Christ who is on display to the world, but who is also limited in effect to only those who enter through Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, which is seen in the gate for the court. He is the expectant Christ, open and available to all who will simply come.

18 the pegs of the tabernacle, the pegs of the court, and their cords;

The pegs were all to be made of bronze. They speak of judgment rendered. As they are what hold the tabernacle and the court hangings up by being firmly planted in the ground, they speak of permanency. The cords are the tie between the two.

Surprisingly, the methar, or cords have never been mentioned until now. The word comes from the verb yathar, meaning left over, or abundant, or to preserve. They then signify the ability of Christ’s judgment to preserve us and tie us to all of the other aspects of His work, binding us to what He has done and abundantly keeping us for the great day of salvation which lies ahead.

19 the garments of ministry, for ministering in the holy place

These bigde ha’serad, or “cloths of service,” are lumped in here by the NKJV with the garments of Aaron and his sons. However, they were described in Exodus 31:10 where they were noted, most probably, as the cloths which cover the sacred articles of the sanctuary as they were transported from place to place.

They thus reflect Christ concealed. His actual Person and work are covered and not viewable to the people of the world. We are to trust in the work of Christ, and thus they symbolize our faith in His work, which is – other than as recorded in Scripture – completely unseen to us.

*19 (fin) the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.’”

The garments for the priesthood, along with the things the high priest wore on his garments, comprise all of chapter 28. The garments in particular point to the ministry of Christ – His nature, His attributes, and His work. The garments for Aaron’s sons pictured Christ’s work on our behalf, covering us in His righteousness.

As I said at the beginning of our passage today, there was a lot of repetition from 22 previous sermons. But I bet quite a bit of what we looked at brought back some great reminders of the magnificent pictures of what those sermons detailed.

And as we have highlighted the giving of the people in their goods and in their service, I would like to mention one way of giving which you may not have thought of. If you have just popped into this sermon and haven’t seen what all of those chapters on the anticipated construction of the sanctuary and all of its implements actually detail, you could give the Lord of your time and go back and watch them.

If you’re really brave, you could go back and start watching from Genesis 1:1 as several people have done, and offer your time to the Lord in learning His word. Time is the fire in which we burn, and it is a candle which is quickly being consumed. But time is also the school in which we learn. Therefore, a wise use of your time is one of the greatest things you could offer to the Lord.

I would put learning His word right up at the top of what you can offer to Him. But no matter what you choose to do, what you choose to give, or what services you decide to offer – do it all for the glory of God which is found in Christ Jesus the Lord. And under the odd possibility that you are here not knowing Christ the Lord, well… you’d better get that squared away right now.

Closing Verse: “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:7, 8

Next Week: Exodus 35:20-35 Fifteen verses it spans… (Offerings and Artisans) (98th Exodus sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

A Call to Service

Then Moses gathered all the congregation
Of the children of Israel
Together, and said to them, to the whole nation
These are the words he did tell

These are the words which the Lord
Has commanded you to do; according to His word

Work shall be done for six days
But the seventh day shall be a holy day for you
A Sabbath of rest to the Lord
Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death, so shall you do

You shall kindle no fire, as I now say
Throughout your dwellings on the Sabbath day

And Moses spoke to all the congregation
Of the children of Israel, saying
This is the thing which the Lord commanded
This is the saying; these the words he was relaying

Take from among you an offering to the Lord
Whoever is of a willing heart
Let him bring it as an offering to the Lord:
Gold, silver, and bronze, but this is just the start

Blue, purple, and scarlet thread
Fine linen, and goats’ hair as well
Ram skins dyed red, badger skins, and acacia wood
Such are needed as to you I now tell

Oil for the light
And spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense too
Onyx stones, and stones to be set just right
In the ephod and in the breastplate are needed from you

All who are gifted artisans among you
Shall come and as the Lord has commanded shall make all
The tabernacle, its tent, its covering, its clasps
Its boards, its bars, its pillars, and its sockets, according to His call

The ark and its poles, with the mercy seat
And the veil of the covering; as He did relay
The table and its poles
All its utensils, and the showbread, as the word does say

Also the lampstand for the light
Its utensils, its lamps, and the oil for the light as well
The incense altar, its poles
The anointing oil, the sweet incense; so I now tell

And the screen for the door
At the entrance of the tabernacle, in that place
The altar of burnt offering with its bronze grating
Its poles, all its utensils, and the laver and its base

The hangings of the court
Its pillars, their sockets, according to these words
And the screen for the gate of the court
The pegs of the tabernacle, the pegs of the court, and their cords

The garments of ministry
For ministering in the holy place
The holy garments for Aaron the priest
And the garments of his sons, to minister as priests before My face

We have been called to follow a process in the Lord
First to rest in Him and what He has done for us
We come to do this through hearing His word
And then showing faith in the Lord Jesus

After that, we are asked for what we have to give
The things which we possess as our offering to God
With a willing heart in this life that we live
And without compulsion in this walk that we trod

And then if we have been given even more
If we possess a special ability or a skill
We should use that for the Lord, yes let us open that door
And use it for His glory with all of our will

In this, the Lord is surely pleased, we know
And so let us not hold back from Him these things
Serve the Lord with all your heart as you grow
As faithful Christians, in all that title brings

Hallelujah and Amen…




Exodus 34:27-35 (The Refulgency of God)

Exodus 34:27-35
The Refulgency of the Lord

Some years ago, I was reading this passage and it made me think of the words, “the refulgency of God.” The word “refulgent” isn’t very common. It simply means “shining radiantly” or “resplendent.” Thus, the “refulgency of God” would be the shining radiance or resplendent glory of God.

Being the odd soul that I am, I decided that instead of “refulgency,” I would modify the word to “Refulgent C.” From there, I made a meme with a marvelous, burning C on it, and put on it the title, “The Refulgent C of God.” Do you know that not one person on Facebook got my pun? I was crushed. That was the end of my meme making days…


In today’s account, and taken together with the rest of Scripture, we will logically see hints of the Trinity. We will also see the temporary nature of the Old Covenant, and how that Old Covenant is actually a hindrance to a right standing with God.

This is one of those passages that seems almost obscure and even quaint when quickly passed over, but what it reveals to us is as important to New Testament theology as almost any other passage we will come across.

Text Verse: “So she took off her widow’s garments, covered herself with a veil and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place which was on the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown, and she was not given to him as a wife.” Genesis 38:14

Judah’s daughter-in-law covered herself in a veil in order to hide who she was from him. Moses covered his face in a veil as well. What are we being told in these passages? Well, if you listened to  and remember the account from Genesis 38, you may already be partially aware of what today’s passage is showing us.

If not, sit tight, pay attention, enjoy what God has set before you, and know that He is unveiling His truth to those who are willing to accept what He has done through the Person and work of Jesus Christ. One theme which resounds, time and again, in the pages of the Bible is “DOCTRINE MATTERS!”

How much does it matter to you? To some, clinging to the Law of Moses is where their hope lies. For those, today’s passage should be a wake-up call. It is time to put behind us works of the law. It is time to come to Christ. For those who have trusted in the finished work of Christ, today’s passage is a reaffirmation that you are on the right road, the advantageous avenue, the perfect parkway, and the street of salvation.

Be pleased to know that God has accepted you because you have received Jesus. 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. He was there with the Lord (verses 27 & 28)

27 Then the Lord said to Moses,

These words are a continuation of what began in verse 1. The entire chapter is interconnected and is revealing the concept of the on-going nature of the covenant which is made between the Lord and Israel. This on-going nature of the account is evidenced in the next words…

27 (con’t) “Write these words,

The command to write is not based on what follows, but what he has just said in verses 10-26. As was noted last week, the Lord isn’t reinstating the original covenant. Nor is a “new covenant” being made. Rather, this is a constant and continuous establishment of a covenant to the people.

Because of this, the entire time of His dealing with Israel is a transitional phase which will be in anticipation of a New Covenant. It is for this reason that the words of the prophets are considered as a part of the covenant. When the Lord spoke through Isaiah, for example, it was to be considered a part of the covenant.

He would deal with Israel in a unique way which was in anticipation of a coming New Covenant. This was shown to be true last week when citing the words of Jeremiah 31 where a New Covenant was promised. As Jeremiah was speaking under the Old, it means that the entire working of the Lord with Israel was a part of a much greater plan which was to come.

The word of the Lord through Jeremiah pointed back to the covenant which was broken by Israel after being brought out of Egypt by the Lord, and yet it anticipated a New Covenant at some future point. And nothing shows us this more clearly than the words of Deuteronomy 18:15-18 –

 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, 16 according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’
17 “And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.”

This “Prophet” mentioned by Moses is none other than the anticipated Messiah. In John 1:21, the people wondered if John the Baptist was this coming Prophet. He told them he was not. As this Prophet, meaning Christ Jesus, was to have the words of the Lord in His mouth, then it shows that His words were to be a part of this on-going covenant. As He declared that the covenant was fulfilled in Him, and simultaneously He declared the initiation of a New Covenant, we see that the entire Old Covenant was both on-going and yet limited in its duration. It ended with Christ’s shed blood.

27 (con’t) for according to the tenor of these words

ki pi ha’devarim ha’elleh – “for as to the mouth the words these.” In other words, as the words were spoken to Moses, so He was to write. This shows us that the Lord is the ultimate Author of Scripture. When the Holy Spirit moved upon the prophets, it was according to the word, or mouth, of the Lord.

This is seen countless times in the Bible. A prophet would say, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel…” or some other similar statement. At times, it was the Lord who spoke directly to the prophet, at other times, the prophet spoke under inspiration of the Spirit. But at all times, it is the word of the Lord which defines Scripture. For this reason we can rightly say that Jesus is both the Author and the Subject of all inspired Scripture. He even hinted at this in the giving of the New Testament –

“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 16:13-15

And yet, Jesus claimed that the words He spoke were not under His own authority, but those of the Father who dwells in Him –

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” John 14:10, 11

Thus, we come to understand more fully His words to the disciples, “I and My Father are one.” The work of the Trinity is fully revealed in the giving of the word of God, the Holy Bible, to us. It is this same Lord who thus says now to Moses…

27 (con’t) I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”

As the Lord made the covenant, and as He fulfilled the covenant in Himself, and as He initiated the New Covenant in His blood, then we can see the on-going nature of this Old Covenant until the time of its ending. It is all about Christ. It is all about what He determines for those He elects. As this point in history, the covenant is with Moses and Israel.

28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights;

The interval of time is repeated from Moses’ previous ascent up the mountain. It seems as if a period of forty days and forty nights is excessive for what little information we have been given here, but Deuteronomy 9:18-20 explains the state of things. Moses spent much of this time interceding for the people who had sinned –

“And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you committed in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. 19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the Lord was angry with you, to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me at that time also. 20 And the Lord was very angry with Aaron and would have destroyed him; so I prayed for Aaron also at the same time.”

It would be good at this time to reiterate the meaning of the number forty as defined by Bullinger. He says it is associated…

“…with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement—(not judgment, like the number 9, which stands in connection with the punishment of enemies, but the chastisement of sons, and of a covenant people). It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8). This is certainly the case where forty relates to a period of evident probation. But where it relates to enlarged dominion, or to renewed or extended rule, then it does so in virtue of its factors 4 and 10, and in harmony with their signification.”

In fact, both of Bullinger’s significations of the number forty apply here. Moses’ time on the mountain is both a time of evident probation, and it is also a time of renewed and extended rule. The time period was certainly repeated as a test of the people below.

They had failed the first time during his absence; now they were being tested and refined through his second absence. But further, it is a time of renewing and extending the original covenant. It is really an astonishing thing how the numbers of Scripture so perfectly and continually match what is occurring in each account.

28 (con’t) he neither ate bread nor drank water.

There are three people who are mentioned as having fasted for this time period in Scripture. The first is Moses who did it twice. In 1 Kings 19:8, Elijah is said to have fasted forty days and forty nights as he traveled to this very same mountain. And finally, Jesus is said to have fasted this same time period in Matthew 4:2. It seems improbable that someone could survive this amount of time without bread and water, but the reason for it is given explicitly in Matthew 4:4 during Jesus’ trial –

“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4

There Jesus cites the words of Deuteronomy 8 which speak of the Manna which was given to the people –

“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:2, 3

But Moses had no Manna, and so how can the two be reconciled? The answer is found in John 6 –

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” John 6:48-51

The Manna only pointed to Christ. Thus it is not at all improbable that these men were able to endure forty days and forty nights without food or drink. Christ is the true Manna and He was able to sustain Moses and Elijah, just as He was able to sustain Himself – relying solely on the providence of God for nourishment.

28 (con’t) And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

Although this appears to be speaking of Moses because he has been mentioned several times in repetition, the NKJV rightly translates this verse with a capital H on “He.” This clause is speaking not of Moses, but of the Lord. This is confirmed in the words of Deuteronomy 10:3-5 –

“So I made an ark of acacia wood, hewed two tablets of stone like the first, and went up the mountain, having the two tablets in my hand. And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, the Ten Commandments, which the Lord had spoken to you in the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly; and the Lord gave them to me. Then I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark which I had made; and there they are, just as the Lord commanded me.”

Though the second set of tablets was made by Moses, the writing on them was still the work of the Lord. The purity of the word of God is evidenced in these marvelous verses in a most wonderful way. God has allowed us to transmit and carry His word, but it is still the word of the Lord.

There are notable contrasts between this forty day period, and that of Matthew 4. Here, Moses receives the word from the Lord on the high mountain. In Matthew, there is the same Lord protecting and defending this same word in the wilderness. In this, fallen Moses had asked for a divine revelation of the Lord. In Matthew 4, the Lord was tempted by the one who caused man to fall, Satan. In this, the Law is spoken in anticipation of it being adhered to. In Matthew, the Law is adhered to in anticipation of it being fulfilled. In this, the tablets foreshadow Christ, coming from Man, but embodying the law given by the Lord. In Christ is the Man who is the Lord and who embodies this same law.

There is more than just a quaint account of Moses and the Lord here. In this, there is the Lord giving us one picture after another of what He intended to do, which led to what He did, and which continues to be reflected in what He does for each person who comes to Him by faith.

The word of God, glorious and pure
Has been given to us; a perfect gift
Its contents are truthful, steady and sure
There to provide our souls with a lift

When we are low, in a time of great need
We can go to this marvelous, perfect gift
And before we know it, even with great speed
Our souls have been given a blessed lift

Let us hold fast to this word which has been given to us
Let us never take for granted this marvelous gift
It is what refreshes our lives as it tells us of Jesus
And so it is exactly what we need to give our souls a lift

II. That Which is Glorious (verses 29-35)

29 Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain),

This is similar to Exodus 32:15. Both times, it is careful to note that the tablets were in the hand of Moses. The same is true in verse 4 when he ascended the mountain. The tablets were carefully noted as being in his hands there as well.

As the tablets are the means by which God’s word is put on display, it begs an obvious question of us. Do we have the same care for God’s word as He does? Each reference to the word of God in the word of God is noted as something which we are to be aware of, to tend to, to safeguard, and to hold in the highest of esteem.

Is this how we treat this same word which we have now been entrusted with? In the Bible, the term “in hand” has a similar meaning as in English. It refers to having possession of something and to have charge over its care. Is this attitude which we display towards this treasure of infinite value?

29 (con’t) that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.

The translation here says, “the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.” This is not the sense of what is written. Rather, it says, “the skin of his face shone through his talking with Him.” It was in the conversation with the Lord that his face was made to shine, and it continued to shine even afterwards.

A new word is introduced into the Bible here, qaran. It is a verb translated as “shone.” It is used just four times in the Bible, three times in this chapter when speaking of the shining face of Moses, and once in the 69th Psalm, where it is translated as “horns” –

This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bull,
Which has horns and hooves.” Psalm 69:31

Qaran comes from the noun qeren which means “horns.” Therefore, some translations say that Moses had horns –

“And when Moses came down from the mount Sinai, he held the two tables of the testimony, and he knew not that his face was horned from the conversation of the Lord.” Douay-Rheims

From these older translations, such as the Latin Vulgate and others, depictions have been made of him having actual horns, like those of a ram, but this is not the intent of the verse. Rather, the light which shone off of him was so brilliant that it emitted out rays of light just like the horns of an animal emit out of its head.

If we compare this descent down the mountain with the previous one, there are some important contrasts to note. In the first, he was filled with righteous anger for the Lord; now he is filled with the glory of the Lord. Then he came to a people swimming in idolatry, unafraid of the Lord; here he returns to people who are literally afraid of the glory of the Lord. In the first, Moses destroyed the tablets of the Testimony; here he will have them carefully deposited in the Ark of the Covenant.

The two accounts contrast, and yet they confirm the work of Christ which is pictured in the second descent, over the failings of Adam which is pictured in the first descent. In Adam, there is enmity with God, a violation of His law, and no fear of who He is. From that came resulting death. In Christ, there is fellowship with God, faithful satisfaction of His law, and a reverent fear of who He is. And from that comes life. None of this is by random chance.

Again, each detail is given as a set of instructions concerning man, the Lord, the law, and grace. Everything is tied together to show us the superiority of the work of the Lord for us over the failings of Adam, of which we are included.

30 So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.

This is rather similar to that of the moments after the fall of man –

“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’
10 So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’” Genesis 3:8-10

Adam had been confronted with the knowledge of his sin and he feared the presence of the Lord. Now the people of Israel are being confronted again with the law of the Lord on the tablets, and the glory of the Lord reflected in Moses’ face.

Here, we are told that they saw Moses. There is nothing to suggest that they thought it was anyone but Moses. However, there was a change in him which they did not understand. The light shining off of him meant something, but they couldn’t discern whether it meant good or evil towards them.

The glory of the Lord, even in a secondary manner such as this, combined with the second set of tablet’s bearing God’s law, seems to have uncovered their sinful state and exposed it to their hearts. No wonder the Lord said in the last chapter that “…no man shall see Me, and live.” The very thought of sin-filled man standing in the presence of pure holiness and beholding it with uncovered eyes would mean utter destruction. From Aaron down, there was fear because of the revealed glory of the Lord.

31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them.

Like Adam who had hid himself from the Lord, those who saw Moses hid themselves from the glory of the Lord which had rested  upon Moses. And like Adam who came forth to speak to the Lord and admit his nakedness, Aaron and the rulers came forward despite their nakedness.

This same type of spiritual encounter will occur again in the future. Christ will come back in His full splendor, and all of the rulers of Israel will fear, but when He calls to them, they will return to Him. When they do, He will speak to them as well. Their nakedness will be covered in His righteousness and the law will be secreted away, once and for all in the true Ark, Christ the Lord. The patterns repeat so that we can see the Lord’s hand in each step of the process. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:15 –

“Whatever exists now has already been, and whatever will be has already been; for God will seek to do again what has occurred in the past.” (NET)

32 Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.

What this appears to be is a congregational gathering of the people where Moses stood and spoke aloud to all who could hear. Everything that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai, he repeated as commandments for the people. In their own hearing, he spoke to them, exactly as they had requested after the giving of the Ten Commandments –

“You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Exodus 20:19

Again, like earlier in this chapter, the mount is called Sinai rather than Horeb. When the name Sinai is used, it normally refers to the on-going redemptive workings of God for His people. Such is the case here. The commandments of the Lord were spoken, and now they are being transmitted to the people of God.

Sinai is used once again to bring us the idea of the work of Christ. Sinai means, “Bush of the Thorn.” It is a picture of the work of Christ culminating in the cross of Christ. The law is given and it is a ministry of death, not of life. This is seen in the next words…

33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.

The KJV gives the exact opposite rendering of the Hebrew. It states that the veil was on Moses’ face when he spoke to the people, not after. This is incorrect. The NKJV corrected this error.

The people of Israel were given a chance to see the reflected glory of the Lord personally. When Moses spoke to the leaders, and then when he spoke to the people, he did it with an unveiled face. He expounded the law to them and they listened.

However, when he finished speaking with them, he then put a veil over his face. The word “veil” is masveh. It is introduced into the Bible here, it will be used once in this and each of the next two verses, and it will not be seen again. It comes from an unused root meaning “to cover.”

The glory of the Lord would be covered over and thus it would be concealed from their eyes. They would have the law, but it was a law which veiled the Lord to them. It could not save anyone, and this was never its purpose. Instead, it is a law which has an end. It is this passing away of the law, superseded by the glory of the Lord, which was veiled to Israel.

34 But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take the veil off until he came out;

There is rich symbolism here. What is in the spot where Moses would go to speak with the Lord? The ark which contained the tablets. This hasn’t actually been recorded yet, but it says as much in Deuteronomy 10:5.

This ark, as we have seen, pictures Christ who embodies the law. Within Him is the fulfillment of the law. In this, the veil is removed, but for those who do not know Christ, a covering stands between them and the Lord which obscures who He is and the glory He reveals.

When Moses was in the presence of the Lord, the veil was removed, and it would stay off until he once again came out. During that time, he would receive the law of the Lord which he would then relay to the people as we read next…

34 (con’t) and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded.

The law of the Lord was communicated to the people by Moses who alone reflected the glory of the Lord. They would hear the words and they would have a validation that the words were from the Lord by the rays of light shining from Moses’ face. After they had received this proof, he would then cover himself, as is seen in our final verse of the day…

*35 And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.

They would see the glory of the Lord radiating off Moses’ face. Thus the authentication of the words of the law would be made. After this, he would then cover his face until he again went in before the Lord. The fact that the law was something temporary and destined to end was veiled from the people.

They took the law as a perpetual covenant, and they still take it this way today. Even some Judaizing sects of Christianity still look at the law in this manner. And thus a veil rests over their eyes. This is explained, in detail, by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3.

How I love your law, O Lord, it is my meditation day and night
And upon Your law I contemplate with all my mind
But in Your law I find myself in a challenging plight
I find myself in a spot difficult and unkind

I see Your law is perfect, but I am prone to sin
I find a war within myself which rages against my will
What will free me from this body of death? Am I done in?
How can I these evil desires crush? I am fighting with them still

Thanks be to God! I can prevail through the Lord Jesus!
In His cross, I am set free and I am granted new life
What a marvelous God who has done these things for us!
In Jesus I find release from the once raging strife

III. From Glory to Glory (2 Corinthians 3)

We have to ask ourselves each time we come to a passage like this, “What is the Lord trying to tell us?” Why did He include this remarkable, but otherwise obscure passage concerning the radiant face of Moses? The answer is that He is showing us Christ.

And the best part about it is that we don’t even need to struggle with it to find the answer. Instead of searching mind and searching the word for secret clues, the Lord has revealed the meaning to us. Paul clearly and precisely explains it in 2 Corinthians 3. Take a minute to turn to that page, and we will go over it (read passage) –

In the previous chapter, Paul spoke of victory in Christ. He then said that the message of the apostles carried “the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” Expanding on that, he gave a contrast as to how this fragrance is received. He says that, “To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death.” In Greek, it reads ek thanatou eis thanaton – “from death to death.”

The state of the unregenerate is already death. This is because “the wages of sin is death” and “all have sinned.” Those who reject the gospel message do so from death to death. There can be no life for someone who is already dead and who has chosen the path of death by rejecting Christ.

For the one who reaches out and receives the fragrant aroma of the gospel message, it is ek zoes eis zoen – “from life to life.” The Source of life is found in the gospel message which centers on Jesus Christ.

In chapter 3, he told his audience that they were in themselves an epistle of Christ which was “written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” Here he contrasts the superiority of the gospel of Christ over the Law of Moses. One was written on stone, the other on the heart.

He then went on to say, very exactingly, that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” As I said earlier, the law could save no one, nor was this its intent. Rather, the letter, meaning the law, kills. Only the Spirit can give life. Remember that Paul was a Pharisee. He was trained like few other people in all of Israel. And yet, he came to understand that the law was opposed to salvation.

Despite this, he tells about the magnificence of the law. He said, “But if the ministry of death, (meaning the law) written and engraved on stones, (meaning the Ten Commandments which was the basis of the law) was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”

Here we see the truth that it was the law itself which brought the radiant shine to Moses’ face. The pure law of God, given directly by God to Moses, was so splendid that it caused his face to shine, as if he had horns protruding from his face.

The radiation of the glory of God emanated from Moses after he beheld the Divine glory. This was a part of his ministry as the lawgiver to the people. It showed the splendor of what God was doing in the giving, and tending to, of the law through Moses. And yet, Paul’s words show that this amazing glory which caused this supernatural emanation of light from the face of Moses “was passing away.”

In other words, the law which was given through Moses is being equated with the passing away of the glory of the light emanating from Moses. There would be a time when the law would fade into history, being replaced with something even more glorious.

The law was never intended to be a means to an end. It was a part of the dispensational model of God’s interactions with mankind, leading us another step towards the coming of Christ. The reason why, is because the law is reflective of the perfection of Christ. In Christ, the law is fulfilled and thus the Spirit is available to any who come to Him through faith in what He has done.

And so, if the law brought death to man, and yet it radiated with glory, Paul asks, “…how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”

It is a wonderful, even amazing sentiment! Paul has spoken of the glory of the “ministry of death” (meaning the Law of Moses) which is fading away. In an argument from the lesser to the greater he now basically asks, “If that was so glorious, then how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”

But Paul doesn’t call it the “ministry of life” as if in contrast to the “ministry of death.” Instead he calls it the “ministry of the Spirit.” This Spirit, meaning the Holy Spirit, is life. And so the contrast is made instead to the physical, tangible stone with carved letters.

Because of the use of “the Spirit” in place of the law, it is speaking of the entire process of the transmission of the gospel – the work at Pentecost, His influence on the apostles to include their work and their writings which are now the New Testament, and then the continued preaching and evaluation of that word. This, and so much more, is the “ministry of the Spirit.”

It is this which is more glorious, and it is this which will reveal glories ahead. This is seen in his use of the Greek preposition en which denotes the permanent nature of the glory, and then the verb translated as “will be,” which is in the future tense. It shows that what is yet to be revealed contains surpassing glory. Everything about the new surpasses the old, both in the present and in what is yet to be revealed.

In verse 9, Paul then changes the terms. He goes from “the ministry of death” to “the ministry of condemnation,” and from “the ministry of the Spirit” to “the ministry of righteousness.” In other words, the law brought death, and associated with that death is condemnation; it is ineffectual to save anyone.

However, the Spirit brings life, and with that comes righteousness; it is not only sufficient to quicken the spirit to live, but to also grant Christ’s righteousness to the one who is so quickened. The glory of this ministry of righteousness far exceeds the glory of the law. The law faded away, but the work of Christ will endure for all eternity. The glory of Christ will shine upon His redeemed throughout the ages of ages.

In verse 10, Paul compares the two dispensations. The giving of the law at Sinai was glorious. It was glorious in the contents of the law which it revealed. It was glorious in how that law was ministered throughout the time of Israel’s life under it as well. And yet, it was a ministry of death. It showed that man cannot fulfill its requirements. Instead, it only brought condemnation. The only thing that spared men from this was a grant of mercy based on the Day of Atonement rituals.

However, the covenant which came though the work of Jesus is a ministry of life. It excels in that where the law brought death, it brings life. Where the law brought condemnation, it brings salvation. Where the law was written on stone, it is written on the hearts.

In Jesus, there is full pardon of sin. In Jesus, there is the sure hope of restoration with God. In Jesus, there is the prospect of eternal life. In all ways, the glory of the law is shown to have only fading glory compared to the work of Jesus on our behalf. Jesus is our Day of Atonement. A one-time and for-all-time glory.

In verse 11, Paul again shows the superlative nature of the grace of God in Christ over the giving of the law. In verse 12, he says that because of the hope of this grace, there is a boldness which was lacking in the law. This is detailed in verse 13 and it explains the obscurity of our passage in Exodus 34 today.

Paul uses the account of the Israelites before Moses as an allegory of the time in which we live. The law is ended in Christ, but the Israelites could not see the end of it. They looked at the law as permanent and as a means to an end. But the law was intended to lead us to Christ. Because they missed this, they “could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.” And this is exactly what has happened in the dispensational model of history.

But the scholar Hermann Olshausen asks, “How could St Paul say that Moses covered his countenance in order that the Israelites should not behold Christ?” His question seems to imply that it would be wrong for Israel, who was looking for their Messiah, to be denied seeing Christ.

But this question is faulty. They were not denied this actively. Instead, they chose to deny Him. They were offered Christ in Acts 2. From there, and throughout Acts, it shows the truth that Jesus was rejected by them. Paul explains this in Romans 11:25 –

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”

God knew in advance that Israel would reject their Messiah, but it served a greater purpose in that the nations received Him and became the called-out Gentile church. Israel was set-aside during this dispensation “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”

There is a time coming when the Gentiles will have reached their fullness and they will be raptured home to be with the Lord. At that time, the focus will be on the nation of Israel once again. On that day, the veil will be taken away and they will see that Christ is, in fact, the end of the law for all who believe.

Paul explains this in verse 14. He notes that the Jews, and indeed anyone who would follow in the misguided notion about the purpose and continuance of the Old Testament, is blinded. This blinding of one’s eyes indicates a spiritual blindness.

This veil which remains in place is “unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament.” Anytime the law is read to a person who is trying to be justified by the law, the veil remains. They have missed Christ and are attempting to seek a right-standing before God based on personal merit. It is a self-condemning act.

Finally in verse 14, the NKJV ends this verse with, “because the veil is taken away in Christ.” This is not the intent of Paul’s words. The word “veil” is inserted; it is not in the Greek. They have incorrectly assumed that it is the veil which is taken away in Christ. But this is properly explained in verse 16. Rather, it speaking of the law itself. In Christ, the law is taken away. Only when one realizes this is the veil then removed. John Darby rightly translates the verse –

“But their thoughts have been darkened, for unto this day the same veil remains in reading the old covenant, unremoved, which in Christ is annulled.” Darby

In verse 15, Paul explicitly tells us that when the law of Moses is read by any who are trying to be justified by the law, a veil lies over their heart, just as the veil was placed over Moses’ face. And then in verse 16 he shows us something wonderful.

Different translators look at what this verse is saying in different ways. In the NKJV, it says “when one turns to the Lord.” It implies that each time a Jew turns to Jesus, the veil is taken away. However, other translations say, “…when it shall turn to the Lord.”

This then would be speaking of the heart of Israel collectively. The Weymouth version says this more specifically with the words, “But whenever the heart of the nation shall have returned to the Lord, the veil will be withdrawn.”

It is true that individually, as Jews come to the Lord, the veil is taken away. However, the context of the passage is implying the nation as a whole. This is what is pictured in Exodus 34. In verse 31 it said, “Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them.”

The prophetic picture of that passage is that the rulers (who represent the nation) “returned” to Moses. The word drives the analogy which Paul clearly saw and is using for us to see. In verse 17, Paul says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

The Lord is the Spirit of biblical interpretation. This is not speaking then of the Holy Spirit but the knowledgeable relationship between what is written in the law and what it is pointing out, which is Christ Jesus.

Finally, Paul closes out with the marvelous words, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

At this time, we are “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.” This happens each time we contemplate the gospel, or now because it is written, search out the New Testament Scriptures. And, in the searching out of Christ in this way, Paul says that we “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.”

Just as Moses’ face reflected the glory of the Lord when he came before the Israelites, so we are being transformed. It is not a physical transformation, but a spiritual one. As we conform to the prescriptions of the New Testament, and as we follow as disciples of Christ, we are being spiritually transformed into that same image; the image of Christ – thus, “from glory to glory.” We behold the glory and it transforms us to that glory.

Paul finishes his thought and the chapter with the words, “just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” It is the Spirit who calls, it is the Spirit who seals, and it is the Spirit who sanctifies. As we pursue Christ from glory to glory, the Spirit is accomplishing His role in the process to conform us to the image of God in Christ.

From what is obscure and hidden, to that which is revealed and open, the Bible speaks of Christ. Because of this, I would hope that each one of you would search Him out, read His word, and fellowship intimately with Him and with those He has called – your brothers and sisters in the Lord.

And if by chance you have never taken the blessed opportunity of calling on Christ and being saved from your just due as the object of God’s wrath, please let me tell you what will bring you to become an object of His affection and a recipient of His marvelous grace…

Closing Verse:  For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.” Romans 11:25-27

Next Week: Exodus 35:1-19 When you get your call, don’t be nervous… (A Call to Service) (97th 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.

From Glory to Glory

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words
For according to the tenor of these words that I say
I have made a covenant with you and with Israel
And these words will direct you in the way

So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights
He neither ate bread nor drank water as well
And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant
The Ten Commandments; God’s great law for Israel

Now it was so, when Moses
Came down from Mount Sinai
And the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand
When he came down from the mountain, by and by

That Moses did not know
That the skin of his face shone
While he talked with Him
To him this condition was unknown

So when Aaron and all the children
Of Israel saw Moses, they were filled with fear
Behold, the skin of his face shone
And they were afraid for him to come near

Then Moses called to them
And Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation
Returned to him; and Moses talked with them
Yes, he talked to the rulers of the nation

Afterward all the children of Israel
Came near, and as commandments them he gave
All that the LORD had spoken with him
On Mount Sinai, directions for how they were to behave

And when Moses had finished speaking with them in that place
It was then that he put a veil on his face

But whenever Moses went in before the LORD
To speak with Him, he would take the veil off –
…as the situation demanded
Until he came out; and he would come out and speak
To the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded

And whenever the children of Israel
Saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone
Then Moses would put the veil on his face again
Until he went in to speak with Him; in the tent with Him alone

Lord, you have explained to us in Your word
That it is Jesus who shines forth Your radiant glory
And so we hail Him as our exalted Lord
And we hold fast to this marvelous gospel story

Praises, yes praises to You O Lord our God
Forever we shall praise You as in Your presence we trod

Hallelujah and Amen…