Exodus 40:17-38 (The Lord in Their Midst)

Exodus 40:17-38
The Lord in Their Midst

Today is our last set of verses in the book of Exodus. This is our 105th sermon for the book as well. It has been an amazing adventure and the perfection of God’s word has been seen in countless different ways during our trip through it.

We have learned history, there have been innumerable moral lessons which have been presented to us, there have been prophetic pictures of things to come, and there has been an astonishing array of symbolism of Christ and His word revealed in every passage we’ve looked at.

These verses reveal the completion of an amazing journey which began when Moses ascended Sinai in Exodus 25. It has been an extraordinary 39 sermons since he was first told that the Lord was going to build a sanctuary to dwell in, there in the midst of Israel.

He immediately began to give details of what was to come, and as He did, He was revealing hidden pictures of the glory that those things only symbolized… Christ! Christ was being described in the minutest detail. His Person, His work, His word, His grace and mercy, His judgment, and His purifying glory.

And one picture which was being presented is now realized in His church. The tabernacle where the Lord would dwell was simply a picture of the church, the people of God, which is being built into a greater and more perfect temple for Him to dwell. Paul tells us this in out text verse of the day –

Text 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

Moses, who has been a marvelous type of Christ on numerous occasions, will erect the tabernacle in today’s passage, and the Lord will move into His dwelling. When He does, the refulgency of God will shine forth in such a dazzling display that it will be impossible to approach near.

Now imagine what it will be like when God’s people are glorified, and Christ comes to dwell among us for all eternity. The glories which lie ahead for the people of God make all of the distasteful trials of this world seem like they never happened. There is a hope which lies ahead for the faithful in Christ which will supersede anything we can possibly imagine.

Personally, I can’t wait for the day. And may that day be soon. Mere hints of what lies ahead will close out the book of Exodus for us. What a joy this book has been as the Lord has unfurled countless treasures concerning Himself and His marvelous plan of redemption.

We have this final passage to go. A passage which is a wonderful part of 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. Setting up the Tabernacle and the Most Holy Place (verses 17-21)

17 And it came to pass in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was raised up.

As according to verse 2 of this chapter, the words are fulfilled now. It was on the day of the new year, when the first year of freedom turned to the next according to the redemptive calendar which was given to Moses by the Lord, that the tabernacle was raised up.

It is exactly 345 days after departing from Egypt and 300 days since arriving at Sinai that the instructions were carried out. It is now the year 2515AM, or “in the year of the world.

For the time spent on the actual work of the tabernacle, the eighty days that Moses was on the mountain have to be deducted. Also, the giving of the law itself, and any intervals between these events needs to be deducted as well. In all, the work was fully accomplished in about one half of a year. With it having been approved by Moses, it would now be assembled in a single day…

18 So Moses raised up the tabernacle, fastened its sockets, set up its boards, put in its bars, and raised up its pillars.

There is dispute among scholars as to whether the word “fastened” is correct or not concerning the sockets. Various translations say, “put in place,” “set down,” “laid,” and “installed.” The word is nathan, from where our modern name Nathan comes from. It means to “give” or “put.”

The bases were extremely heavy, but some scholars think they were still not heavy enough to support the weight without tipping over. Therefore, they speculate that they were wedge-shaped, and they were actually partially buried in the ground. Whether this is the case or not, the tabernacle, once joined as a unit and secured with cords and pegs, would be one sturdy structure.

19 And he spread out the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent on top of it, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

This would have certainly been the most difficult part of the entire operation. If you’ve ever worked with tents, you know this. But these people had been tent-dwellers for countless generations and could take down and put up their tents in a most trouble-free manner. Even today, the Bedouins move their large tents, breaking them down and setting them up, with little trouble.

The verse here shows, and even highlights, the great distinction between the two separate units. There is the tabernacle, and then there is the tent over the tabernacle. One covers over the other, and in almost all instances, the title “the tent of meeting” is used rather than “the tabernacle of meeting.” The tabernacle was raised, and then the tent which comprised both the ram skins dyed red and then the outer covering of the skins of sea animals was placed over the tabernacle.

20 He took the Testimony and put it into the ark, inserted the poles through the rings of the ark, and put the mercy seat on top of the ark.

This verse should rightfully say, “He had taken the Testimony and put it into the ark.” The two tablets of the Ten Commandments, meaning the Testimony, were placed in there when Moses came down from the mountain. This is recorded in Deuteronomy 10:5. The only other explanation is that Deuteronomy 10 was referring to this time. If so, then the Ten Commandments were left outside of the ark for quite some duration of time. This is unlikely.

Either way, the rest of the Ark was probably not assembled until now. It is at this time that the Testimony would be covered with the mercy seat and the poles were placed on the ark. Out of all 20 translations that I look at for these sermons, only the NKJV says that he “inserted the poles through the rings of the ark.”

The Hebrew never mentions the rings, and so their translation is more of an explanatory paraphrase. Unfortunately, they didn’t italicize those words, and so it must be considered a bad translation of this verse, even though it is a correct idea. As this is God’s word, precision should be made in matters like this.

21 And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, hung up the veil of the covering, and partitioned off the ark of the Testimony, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

This would have been the last time that the Israelite people would have seen the ark for many, many hundreds of years. From this moment on, the ark was never to be seen by anyone except the high priest, and that only once a year. However, during the time of the movement of the tabernacle, it would also be seen by the priests designated to cover it before it was transported from place to place. This is recorded in Numbers 4:5.

Other than these exceptions, the ark was to forever remain behind the veil, showing the people that there was a fracture, or divide, between them and the Lord. The veil, with its cherubim woven into it, was to remind them that man had been cast out of Eden and could not enter the Lord’s presence, except through a mediator. What a profound and sobering picture of the work of Christ whose coming and whose ministry was as of yet unknown to them.

What is surprising is that even to this day, the Jews don’t get it. They are in the process of making a new veil for the coming temple in Jerusalem. On that veil will be cherubim like those of old. They are willingly demonstrating that they have no access to God and to His paradise which is prepared for those who come to Him through Christ.

Thank God for Jesus Christ who rent the veil through His work. Thank God for Jesus Christ who restores to us the intimate fellowship which was lost to man at the very first moments of his long and weary existence on this earth.

The Most Holy Place, where the Lord does dwell
The place where all of His goodness is known
We had lost access to that place for a long, long spell
But hints of how to return us there have been shown

There in the place where peace is to be found
Where the Lord resides, and from where shines His glory
A marvelous place where joy does abound
Is revealed to us in the gospel story

Entering through the veil, the torn body of the Lord
And placing our sins at the foot of the cross of Calvary
We have full access, yes peace is restored
This is what God has done through Christ for you and for me

II. Setting up the Holy Place (verses 22-28)

22 He put the table in the tabernacle of meeting, on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the veil;

With the veil set, the attention is next turned to the Holy Place of the tabernacle. The first item to be placed there is the table of showbread. The Tabernacle points to the west with its entrance at the east. This then means that the north side is on the right. There the table was to be placed.

As a correction here, the Hebrew says, “And he put the table in the tent of meeting on the north side of the tabernacle.” Two different words are used – tent and tabernacle. But the translators erringly overlook this and call it the tabernacle both times.

In another sad state, but one which is too often repeated, one scholar incorrectly commented on this verse concerning the placement of this table, and from that it was repeated by others. The comment was that until this point, there were no instructions given for where this table would be placed. Here is what the Pulpit Commentary states –

“No direction had been given upon this point, but Moses probably knew the right position from the pattern which he had seen upon the mount.”

This is what happens, one person says something, and then it becomes accepted without checking. In fact, the placement for this table was noted when it was first mentioned in Exodus 26 –

“You shall set the table outside the veil, and the lampstand across from the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south; and you shall put the table on the north side.” Exodus 26:35

When reading commentaries, never allow your brain to squiggle until you first check to see if the commentary is correct. If such an obvious error is possible with such a simple thing as this, imagine how much more important it is to check on doctrinal matters which can affect your entire walk with Christ, and even the matter of your salvation!

23 and he set the bread in order upon it before the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

This is the “bread of the Presence,” or the “bread of the Faces” as it literally is translated in Exodus 25:30. According to Leviticus 26, it was to be set in two rows, six loves to a row.

Because the instructions for this are given afterwards in Leviticus, it shows that the book of Leviticus is not necessarily a chronological record of what was instructed. Instead, it is a compilation of what the Lord commanded which was then placed in the order as divinely inspired by the Lord.

24 He put the lampstand in the tabernacle of meeting, across from the table, on the south side of the tabernacle;

The lampstand is the next item set in the Holy Place within the tent of meeting. It will be on the left as one enters to minister. Its arrangement was to be so that it was over against the table so that the light would shine to the north and illuminate the table.

25 and he lit the lamps before the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

In this verse is a Hebraism that is translated in one of two ways. The words are va’yaal ha’nerot. Some translators say, “And he set up the lamps.” Others say, “And he lit the lamps.” Only Young’s Literal Translation gives a direct rendering of the Hebrew. He says, “And he causeth the lamps to go up.” It isn’t that he set up the lamps, it is that he lit them, thus making the light go up before the Lord. The Holy Place was illuminated through this work of Moses.

It should be noted here that it is Moses who is doing these duties. He certainly had help with the setting up of the tabernacle and the tent and each piece of furniture, but he is the one to oversee the entire process. Aaron is not mentioned as having done any of these things because he is not yet ordained to do them.

Only Moses is set apart to be the one in charge of the duties at this point. This will end in just a few days, when the rite of ordination is complete, but until then, it is his responsibility to ensure that each step is carried out. And as the process continues, we read again that he accomplishes the task “as the Lord commanded.” He is being a faithful steward of the tasks that he is charged with.

26 He put the gold altar in the tabernacle of meeting in front of the veil;

This is the altar of incense, now called “the gold altar.” This is to distinguish it from the brazen altar which will be outside of the tent. It’s placement is just before the veil which would put it half way between the table and the menorah.

There before the veil, the smoke and smell of the incense would be the only thing to pass through the veil and into the Most Holy place each day. It signifies that the prayers of the people, through the Lord’s designated representative, would be received by God there in His dwelling place.

27 and he burned sweet incense on it, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

The incense would be lit and burned twice each day at the same times that the menorah was tended to. Again, this was a duty only authorized for the priests, and so once again, it says “as the Lord had commanded Moses.” It is a note that despite the fact that Moses was not the selected and ordained high priest, he was given the command to accomplish these tasks until Aaron and his sons were properly installed.

It is also worthy of note, once again, that the incense is called “sweet” or “fragrant.” The reason why this is so important is because not just any incense could be presented before the Lord. In just a few more chapters, and in just a few days from this very moment that Moses is working, two sons of Aaron will present unauthorized incense before the Lord, and they will be consumed by fire for their irreverence.

As this incense pictures acceptable prayers to God, the profane incense pictures unacceptable prayers to God. For us to mix our prayers with those of unbelievers, acknowledging their prayers as acceptable before the Lord, is a deed worthy of death.

We are not to pray with people of other religions as if we are praying to the same God. It is a direct affront to Him when we do this. There is one God, there is one Mediator between God and man, and there can be no fellowship between light and darkness.

28 He hung up the screen at the door of the tabernacle.

This hanging is the covering of the entranceway into the Holy Place. It was visible to the people from outside of the Tent of Meeting and anyone who was curious could watch the ministering priest go through this entryway, but their peering eyes could see no further than this.

The Holy Place where there is the Bread of life
The Holy Place where the Light of life shines so bright
The Holy place where prayers are raised to end all strife
There in the Holy Place the Lord came to cure our hopeless plight

His perfect life was ended so that we could live
His light was covered over so that we could shine
For us to His Father His prayers He did give
And to the world He has given His marvelous sign

Look to the cross and to our Bread of life
Look to the cross for the Light of the world
Pray through the One who has ended the strife
And give glory to the Lord who has His banner unfurled

III. Setting up the Courtyard and its Furniture (verses 29-33)

29 And he put the altar of burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the grain offering, as the Lord had commanded Moses.

The altar of burnt offering is connected directly to the door of the tabernacle in this verse. There is no connecting preposition in the Hebrew. Without this altar, there could be no access. One cannot minister to the Lord until he first offers to the Lord. Thus Moses has the altar placed in direct line with the entrance way and then it next notes that he made his offering, just as the Lord commanded.

30 He set the laver between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar, and put water there for washing;

Despite the altar of burnt offering being connected to the door, this laver is still placed between the altar and the tent of meeting. The general speculation is that it was placed just off to the south side so that the priests would not have to go around it, but this is unstated in the Bible. Its purpose has been described already, washing. But the Lord once again states it and further defines it…

31 and Moses, Aaron, and his sons would wash their hands and their feet with water from it.

The tense of the verb is frequentative. In other words, it indicates that washing took place at any given time. At this time, Moses would be the one to wash. When Aaron and his sons were installed, Moses would no longer perform priestly functions and he would no longer wash, but Aaron and his sons would. The verse simply explains the placement and use of the laver.

32 Whenever they went into the tabernacle of meeting, and when they came near the altar, they washed,

The importance of the laver is seen in the exceptional amount of explanation given for it. So far, we have reviewed all of the furniture to be used in the sanctuary, and only this one piece has gotten so much detail concerning its use. If you don’t remember the symbolism of the laver, or if you didn’t see that sermon, you should go review. In short, it signifies our on-going sanctification which preeminently comes from knowing and adhering to the words of Scripture.

If you wonder how the Lord feels about the time you spend in the word, all you need to do is look at the amount of detail that He is giving us now as to the use of the laver. He wants you in it day and night. If you’re not filling yourself with the word, you are filling yourself with something else, probably something completely non-productive in regards to your relationship with the Lord.

32 (con’t) as the Lord had commanded Moses.

This is the last of eight times that this is said of Moses’ adherence to the duties he was prescribed. If you add in his supervision of the work of the people from the previous chapter, it is a full 18 times that the obedience of Moses is highlighted, just as the Lord commanded. With each step of the process, the Bible meticulously notes the adherence to what the Lord had previously spoken.

It is an especially poignant note for us to consider, because the word of the Lord to Moses is exactly the same word from the Lord which is recorded for us. Whether in part or in whole, when we receive the word of the Lord, our obedience to it, and our adherence to it is being gauged.

Moses was told, “Do this,” and the Bible then records, “Moses did this as commanded.” We are told, “Do this,” and when we stand before the Lord, the record will either read, “He did this,” or “He didn’t do this.” An eternity of rewards can be very easily lost in the purifying fire of the Lord’s judgment, simply because we failed to heed. Let’s not let that happen to us!

33 And he raised up the court all around the tabernacle and the altar,

The court around the tabernacle stretched out for about 150 feet on the north and south, and it was about 75 feet across on the west and on the east. In all then, it was approximately one half the size of a football field. It wasn’t just a court, but actually an enclosure. The tabernacle would have sat inside of it.

Flavius Josephus states that the tabernacle was placed in the middle of the court (Antiq. III 6, 3), but most photos or depictions you see have centered and all the way to the back of the courtyard. From a pictorial aspect, what Josephus says makes more sense. The placement of the ark, the very heart of the entire edifice would be there in the center of the sanctuary.

33 (con’t) and hung up the screen of the court gate.

This is the last detail mentioned for the entire sanctuary. It is the screen by which access into the court itself was obtained. As this is shown to clearly picture Christ – the Way, the Truth, and the Life – it is fitting that it is the last item mentioned. It is a note that in order to get through all of the other objects, and to the very throne of the Lord, one must come through Christ. There is no end-around for the people of the world. It is either Jesus, or one is left without access. Thank God for Jesus Christ!

33 (con’t) So Moses finished the work.

va’kal moshe eth ha’melakah – The words are simple and without any fanfare, “And finished Moses the work.” He was given a task, and he saw it through to its completion. The sanctuary was now complete in every detail.

As a note before we go on, the details of lighting lamps, burning incense, burning offerings, and washing with the laver – and so on – all of these details were certainly done after this final verse, but they were mentioned before to show that those functions were accomplished in accord with the use of the respective item.

Further, though the anointing of these items for their consecration isn’t mentioned until Leviticus 8, it is probable that it was accomplished directly after the final setting up of the sanctuary and as the week-long ordination of Aaron began.

It is I who consecrates Israel
It is by My glory that this is so
And it is I who can consecrate You as well
To you My holiness I will show

For those who call out from Egypt’s chains
I will respond and break them free
Nothing of the previous bondage now remains
For those who have been released by Me

I am the Lord who sanctifies His people
It is by My glory that this is so
So let them sing their praises from under the steeple
They are mine; let the world know

*IV. The Cloud and the Glory (verses 34-38)

34 Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

The sign of the Lord’s approval of all that has taken place, and of His entry into His new residence is now given in a stunning display. The cloud which had led them from the Red Sea all the way to Mt. Sinai, and which had rested upon either Sinai, or Moses’ tent when he went to meet the Lord there, now enveloped the tent of meeting.

And from within the tabernacle, the glory of the Lord dazzlingly radiated out, filling the entire temple. The promise to dwell in the midst of Israel had now come to its realization.

Regardless of the actual timing of the events concerning the anointing of the tabernacle and all of the furniture, and also the timing of Aaron’s consecration, the temporary nature of the Levitical priesthood is made perfectly obvious by the placement of this final passage at the end of the book of Exodus instead of within the book of Leviticus. In Exodus 29, the Lord said these words to Moses –

This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord, where I will meet you to speak with you. 43 And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory.” Exodus 29:42, 43

At that time, I explained that the words “the tabernacle” were inserted by the translators. All it says is, v’niqdash bikbodi – “…and I will sanctify by My glory.” The question then was, “What will the Lord sanctify by His glory?” Of 20 English translations, the options were – “the place,” “it,” “the tabernacle,” “that place,” “the tent,” and “the altar.” Does anyone remember which was correct?

The answer was, “None of those.” Rather, the only entity mentioned in the verse was “the children of Israel.” It is Israel who is sanctified by the presence of the Lord. The proof of this was that His glory filled the tent of meeting.

The Lord had told them after their sin of the golden calf that He would not dwell in their midst. Through the mediation of Moses, the Lord agreed that He would dwell in their midst. Now, with the sanctuary complete, the promise is realized. He has come to dwell in their midst, and Israel as a people is sanctified by His glory.

During their exile, this was the very promise made to Israel through Ezekiel. He told them that a time was coming when He would be with them and once again sanctify them by His glory –

“My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28 The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.” Ezekiel 37:27-28

But that never happened after the exile. There is no record of the presence of the Lord filling the second temple. The time is yet future to them even now, and it is connected not to this covenant, mediated by Aaron. Instead, it is connected to the covenant which is mediated by the Messiah to come as was promised through Jeremiah the prophet.

This marvelous truth is hinted at now in the placement of this passage in Exodus, not Leviticus. Even before the consecration of Aaron and his sons, while still under the mediation of Moses, the glory of the Lord fills the temple. This law administered by Moses, even after his death, was thus only temporary until the time of it being superseded by what it only pointed to, the better and more perfect covenant found in Christ Jesus.

35 And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

What this seems to imply is that Moses, in fact, attempted to enter the tent of meeting, just as he had done when he met with the Lord in the previous tent of meeting outside the camp. However, the brilliant splendor of Yehovah was so radiant and marvelous that he could not. It was beyond his ability to do so. What a sign to all of the people of the marvelous workings of the Lord on their behalf!

Verses 34 and 35 are repeated in what occurred at the building of Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. In 1 Kings 8, we read this –

“And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” 1 Kings 8:10, 11

But notice the main difference between the two. In Exodus, it says that Moses was not able to enter. In 1 Kings, it says that the priests could not continue ministering. It is not the ministration of the priests that brings the Lord’s presence near, nor is it the law of Moses, which is still not complete – many more laws are coming.

Rather, the glory of the Lord coming among the people to sanctify them precedes the Aaronic priesthood, and it is also precedes the full giving of the Law of Moses. Therefore, neither of these things can be considered necessary for the coming of the Lord to dwell among His people.

Rather, the things which have been erected are what brought it to pass, and these things are merely types and shadows, as we have seen, of the coming Christ. As Christ is the fulfillment of them all, then it is the Lord Jesus in whom the glory of the Lord dwells in its full and resplendent glory.

If we would just pay heed to the details, even of seemingly obscure events in the Lord’s word, we would know where to put our trust, our hope, and our attentive eyes.

36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys.

At some point, the magnificent glory which filled the entire tabernacle retreated into the Most Holy Place and was to be found only there above the mercy seat and between the cherubim as was promised to Moses in chapter 25.

However, the cloud of glory remained above the tabernacle. It no longer moved from Sinai to tent and back to Sinai. Instead, it remained there above the tabernacle at all times until it was time to move. Only in this instance would the cloud move. And when it did, the people were expected to break camp and follow.

37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up.

This verse is more fully explained in Numbers 9. The people remained where they were and only moved when directed –

“So it was, when the cloud remained only from evening until morning: when the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they would journey; whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud was taken up, they would journey. 22 Whether it was two days, a month, or a year that the cloud remained above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would remain encamped and not journey; but when it was taken up, they would journey.” Numbers 9:21, 22

It was solely by the direction of the Lord that the people moved. His plan was being executed, and His timing would prevail in having all things turn out as He had determined from the very beginning.

*38 For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

The cloud of glory had two distinct aspects. One was a covering cloud during the day, the other was the appearance of fire by night. This is not to be taken allegorically, but rather it is exactly what the people saw, and thus it was always visible to them.

With the presence of the cloud above the tabernacle, and in in full sight of all of the people, they would never again have to ask the question, “Is the Lord among us or not?” It would be evident to all that he was. It adds a touch of security to the obedient heart, but Israel is not known for its obedience. And therefore, it also adds a note of dread, and that assured judgment lies ahead for them.

We don’t even need to turn the pages to guess this, the Lord has said as much concerning the stiff-necked demeanor of the people. And yet, because of the faithful mediation of Moses, they have received the granting of their desires. They are now truly and inextricably the people of God, with all of the associated positives and negatives that this includes.

The positives will stem from their faithfulness to Him, and the negatives will stem from their rebellion against Him. The Lord is unchanging, and this the people will find out.

The chapter and the book close out with this final verse. The people became enslaved to Pharaoh at the beginning of the book, and they had now become servants of the Lord at its ending. Whereas the book of Genesis spanned well over 2000 years of human history, Exodus spanned less than 100.

After this, the next three books combined will span less than 40. The Lord chose His line of people, they had come to the point of their redemption, and now they will come to be refined as His people in order to enter the Land of Promise.

Unfortunately, the refinement of a people is not congenital. Each generation must heed the lessons of the past, or they too will fall under the expected punishments of the Lord. Israel failed to teach their children and they were twice exiled.

By God’s mighty hand alone, they have been returned once again to the Land of Promise. However, this time instead of being refined in advance of their arrival, they will be refined only afterwards. It will be a terrifying lesson as their numbers are whittled down through the process, but there will be an end to that refinement, and a time of great glory lies ahead for them yet again.

The cloud and fire is promised once again to the people of God who dwell in Jerusalem of the future. Isaiah tells us of the marvel that the people will behold –

“And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.” Isaiah 4:3-6

Again, this passage from Isaiah is not to be allegorized. It is to be taken as a literal manifestation signifying the presence of the Lord over Jerusalem during the millennial period. It will be the time which occurs only after He has “washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion.”

That day cannot be far off. The time of Israel’s exile is ended, the time of the falling away by the church has surely come close to reaching its climax, and the just punishment upon the nations of the world is close at hand.

The Lord led Israel by cloud, and He leads His church by His written word. We fail to pay heed at our own peril. In His magnificent, superior word there is a promise of great and marvelous things which lie ahead for the redeemed of the Lord. Let us hold fast to these promises and not lose heart as we await their sure coming. The Lord of glory is there, and He is willing to accept all who come to Him by faith. Let us not fail to heed the call when it is made. And let us not fail to seek Him while He may be found.

Closing Verse: “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Revelation 21:22-27

Next Week: Jonah 1:1-3 With this new series you will never be bored! (From the Presence of the Lord) (1st Jonah 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 Lord in Their Midst

And it came to pass
In the first month of the second year
On the first day of the month, that the tabernacle was raised up
To this command Moses did adhere

So Moses raised up the tabernacle
Fastened its sockets, set up its boards too
Put in its bars, and raised up its pillars
As he was instructed, so he did do

And he spread out the tent
Over the tabernacle
And put the covering of the tent on top of it
As the LORD had commanded Moses, so he did tackle

He took the Testimony and put it into the ark
Inserted the poles through the ark’s rings
And put the mercy seat on top of the ark
He followed through with each of these things

And he brought the ark into the tabernacle
Hung up the veil of the covering
And partitioned off the ark of the Testimony
As the LORD had commanded Moses, so he did this thing

He put the table in the tabernacle of meeting
On the north side of the tabernacle, as the Lord did tell
Outside the veil; its place of seating
And he set the bread in order upon it as well

It was there before the LORD
As the LORD had commanded Moses
According to His word

He put the lampstand
In the tabernacle of meeting, this job he did tackle
Across from the table
On the south side of the tabernacle

And he lit the lamps before the LORD
As the LORD had commanded Moses
According to His word

He put the gold altar
In the tabernacle of meeting
In front of the veil
This, the place of its seating

And he burned sweet incense on it
As the LORD had commanded Moses
As the Lord did submit

He hung up the screen at the door
Of the tabernacle, and then he continued to do more

And he put the altar of burnt offering
Before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting
And offered upon it the burnt offering and the grain offering
As the LORD had commanded Moses; the task he was completing

He set the laver
Between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar
And put water there for washing
In attention to this duty he did not falter

And Moses, Aaron, and his sons
Would wash their hands and their feet with water from it
These people only; they the only ones

Whenever they went into the tabernacle of meeting
And when they came near the altar too
They washed
As the LORD had commanded Moses to do

And he raised up the court
All around the tabernacle and the altar; this duty he did not shirk
And hung up the screen of the court gate
So Moses finished the work

Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting
Surely this was a marvelous sight
And the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle
The tabernacle was completed just right

And Moses was not able
To enter the tabernacle of meeting even if he willed
Because the cloud rested above it
And the glory of the LORD the tabernacle filled

Whenever the cloud was taken up
From above the tabernacle moving forward
The children of Israel
Would go in all their journeys onward

But if the cloud was not taken up
Then they did not journey
Till the day that it was taken up
They waited for it to move; they waited obediently

For the cloud of the LORD, this marvelous sight
Was above the tabernacle by day
And fire was over it by night
In all of the house of Israel’s sight, throughout all their journeys
It guided them as they went on their way

Lord God, thank you for this wonderful book
Exodus! What a marvel to have studied it
Into every detail possible we took a look
And to You our thanks and praise we now submit!

Hallelujah to Christ our Lord!
Hallelujah for Exodus, a marvelous part of Your superior word!

Hallelujah and Amen…

Exodus 40:1-16 (Seven I AM’s)

Exodus 40:1-16
Seven “I AM’s”

As always, Sunday night I was concerned about the sermon typing coming up on the next day. There is, once again, a great deal of repetition in these verses as the obedience of Moses to the command of the Lord is being evaluated.

I asked the Lord for His hand to be upon me as is my custom, and then in the morning I asked Him to prepare my fingers for the battle which lay ahead. As I got going, I began to realize that there is a pattern which seemed to match things going on in another book of the Bible. Being a bit dull, it took me several verses, maybe even half the sermon, to realize that the pattern didn’t just match that other book’s pattern, but it matches it exactly.

Considering that Exodus was written at the time of Moses, almost 1500 years before the coming of Christ, and considering that John wrote from memory what he had heard, and finally… considering that this pattern was (at least to my knowledge – I did an internet search) never seen before 31 October 2016, it shows, once again, that the word of God has many secrets waiting to be revealed.

How can it be that countless scholars have poured over this book, time and time again, and yet the pattern remained unknown? It is because it wasn’t yet ready to be revealed. But as we go on, you will see that it is precise, and it is also as obvious as the nose on your face, once you see it. What a gift! What a treasure! And yet, we find more time to watch sports or movies than we do reading this precious jewel, handed to us by God through the inspiration of His Spirit. Where are our priorities? Where indeed…

Text Verse: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29

The Bible is literally filled with secret things. In His own providential timing, the Lord whispers them out to us. He opens our ear and speaks softly into it. Or maybe He wakes us up late in the night with a spark of His divine will filling our mind with something that we had never considered before.

Or, He may even open our eyes to something while we are reading the word. When He does, we need to grab the moment, seize the opportunity, and search out what He is telling us. It is true that not everything people think they find is actually valid.

Far too often we find those who claim they have found something that is so far off base that we blush in embarrassment, looking for a way to tell them they’ve missed the target, but there are a lot of targets that won’t be missed as well.

One of them is seen in today’s passage concerning the erection of the sanctuary and its consecration. This is then followed up with the consecration of Aaron and his sons. But it matches something going on in the book of John in a marvelous way.

And… it is all to reveal to us Jesus. Yes, it’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Setting up the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting (verses 1-8)

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

v’dabber Yehovah el mosheh lemor – these exact words haven’t been spoken to Moses since Exodus 31:1. That was seventeen sermons ago, a time which included the incident with the golden-calf and everything that transpired since then.

Now the words are spoken again to introduce an entirely new thought, one which has actually been anticipated since Exodus 25 and the calling of the people by the Lord to donate for the construction of a tabernacle. That was a full 37 sermons ago.

Once again now, the words of introductory preparation are written for us to stop… and to consider what lies ahead. Something new and marvelous is one thought away.  What will it be?

“On the first day of the first month

What is to be done will be done at the turn of the year. It is a new time, and a new season. The chosen first month for the redemptive calendar year was given in Exodus 12:2. It was the month of their deliverance from Egypt, and the Lord told them that it would be the first of their months from that point on –

“This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Exodus 12:2

The name of the month, Aviv, was specifically given in Exodus 13:4. It is to be on the first of this month, and exactly 345 days after departing from Egypt and 300 days since arriving at Sinai, that this new instruction was to be carried out.

Thus, it will occur on the first day of their first full year of freedom, and it will be the first day of the designated redemptive year in the year 2515AM, or “in the year of the world.” And that instruction is…

2 (con’t) you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.

The words are correct. Both the term mishkan, or tabernacle, and ohel moed, or tent of meeting, are used. The words are placed in apposition, meaning that they are grammatically almost parallel, but the tabernacle resided within the tent. It being set up first, and then the tent being raised over it.

Further, it is the “tent of meeting,” not the “tent of the congregation” which is used by the KJV. The tent of meeting is where the Lord would meet with His designated representative, not the congregation.

Though the many parts of the sanctuary had been made by the people, and though they had been approved by Moses as meeting the specifications given by the Lord, it was not just completed and caused to be raised.

Rather, the Lord has determined the appointed times and seasons for all redemptive workings. This included the erection of this marvelous edifice which had been so painstakingly fashioned in order to picture the Person and the work of Christ to come.

By having it raised on the first day of the first month, the entire ordination process for it would be complete in time for the celebration of the first Passover which would be held on the fourteenth of the same month.

As this is the approximate time of the Spring equinox, the rising sun would be directly to the east, and thus it would be to the backs of those who would be worshipping towards the Most Holy Place where the Ark was to be located.

Further, as the first day of the month is the day of the New Moon, there would be no moon visible in the sky at that time. In both cases, it is a direct challenge to any notion of sun or moon worship. The Creator, not the creation, was to be worshipped by the people Israel. The precedence was being set in this selected timing.

Another reason for selecting the New Year was to set up the hearts of the people for a new beginning. The year past had shown them failing many times in their devotion to the Lord, culminating in the tragic instance of the golden calf. Now, with the new year, there would be a new beginning, and a chance to serve the Lord all the better in the year to come…. hopefully.

You shall put in it the ark of the Testimony,

The very purpose of building the sanctuary was for a place where the ark could reside. It is, in essence, the soul of the entire sanctuary. It is the spot where the presence of the Lord would reside, and where the high priest, once a year, would come to petition the Lord for mercy for the sins committed by the people.

And the ark itself was only a receptacle for the tablets of the Testimony. Without the tablets, the ark was just a wooden box, splendidly ornamented with gold. And so it is with us, we can be the most splendid example of humanity – being a hulking weight lifter, or the most beautiful movie star – but without adherence to the word of God, we are just another person which happens to be more ornamented than those around us.

In Christ alone is there an embodiment of the word of God, and thus He is the very soul of the Lord’s temple. For those who are in Christ, we are there with Him, in the Most Holy place, having satisfied the law, not through our own efforts, but through the work of Jesus. The importance of what this ark pictures cannot be understated. It needs to be repeated like a children’s story – again and again until it is ingrained in our very being.

This placing of the Ark in the Tabernacle is parallel to John’s words which begin his gospel –

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

3 (con’t) and partition off the ark with the veil.

The Hebrew says, v’sakota al ha’aron eth ha’paroketh – “And cover against the ark the veil.” The ark is not covered with the veil, but it is a covering none-the-less. The word sakak was used when the Lord said that He would place Moses in the cleft of the rock and cover him with His hand.

The veil would stand between the Holy Place where the priests ministered daily, and the Most Holy Place where the Lord resided. It was to signify the unapproachable nature of the Lord. There was a division, or a fracture, between Him and man, even between Him and the priests ordained to minister before Him.

The priests were kept from profaning His presence, and they were protected from being destroyed by Him by the placement of this veil. And as a reminder, on this veil were woven cherubim, as if guardians of the Presence. It is a picture of the cherubim which guard the way back to Eden.

This veil will remain for almost 1500 years, until the time of Christ’s crucifixion where it will be torn asunder, allowing all who will come, to simply come. Any may enter the Most Holy Place and that land of delight once again by a mere act of faith. In Christ, the fracture is healed and the divide is removed. The guardian angels rest their flaming swords, and peace with God is restored. The veil, as we have seen, represents Christ’s physical body. This corresponds to John 1:14 –

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

You shall bring in the table and arrange the things that are to be set in order on it;

The “Table of Showbread” was minutely described in Exodus 25. It is the first piece of furniture to be brought into the Holy Place. As you certainly remember, it pictures Christ, our Bread of life. This is as He Himself proclaimed in John 6:35 –

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”

Thus, this table pictures the Lord coming, in a limited way, into the Holy Place to commune with His people. As John Lange describes this –

“By this symbolic communion with the priests He discloses to the people the hope of fellowship with Him, the fellowship of His Spirit, of His blessings.”

The “things that are to be set in order on it” have not yet been described, only the implements, but not what they held. This shows us that some of the book of Leviticus was probably already being compiled prior to the raising up of the tabernacle. Here is what is to be set in order which is described in Leviticus 24 –

“And you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it. Two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. You shall set them in two rows, six in a row, on the pure gold table before the Lord. And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, an offering made by fire to the Lord. Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the offerings of the Lord made by fire, by a perpetual statute.” Leviticus 24:5-9

4 (con’t) and you shall bring in the lampstand and light its lamps.

Only after the table was brought in was the menorah to be brought in. If the table signified a feast, then the lights are lighted in order for that feast to be held. It is of note that Jesus first proclaimed Himself the Bread of life in John 6, and then proclaimed this in John 8:12 –

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Thus, His proclamations match the order of the furniture which have been brought into this Holy Place. The instructions here are to light its lamps, but this was done specifically at a prescribed time of the day each day, a time known as “between the evenings,” and thus about 3 pm.

You shall also set the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the Testimony,

The term “before the ark of the Testimony” means outside the veil in the Holy Place, and directly in front of where the Ark sat behind the veil. The table was to the south; the menorah was to the north, but with its lamps illuminating the south.

As the presence of the Lord symbolically comes to fellowship with the priests through the veil in the placement of the Table of Showbread, so likewise, the prayers symbolically go through the veil and into the Most Holy Place by the wafting of the incense which is offered on this altar.

Despite there being a fracture, or divide, between the two, communion was possible through these two points. As the bread can be equated with the word of God which nourishes, and as the incense can be equated with the prayers of the people, the Lord fellowshipped with His people through the word and they with Him through prayer.

How much more now can we truly fellowship with the Lord when we have the full word of God available to us, and we have the Holy Spirit who receives our prayers and sends them directly through our Mediator to God the Father!

We have full and unhindered access to the very Throne of Grace, and we have the full revelation of God available at this time in the completed word. Truly, this dispensation we live in is the most blessed of times yet for those who are eager to fellowship intimately with God.

5 (con’t) and put up the screen for the door of the tabernacle.

The screen, or masak,  is that which separates the Holy Place from the outside courtyard. This screen is what is at the pethakh, or “doorway,” for access into the tabernacle. And once again, in order, we have Jesus’ claim that He is the Door, in John 10:7 –

“Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”

The order of His proclamations follows in a remarkable way with the order of these items now being set up.

Then you shall set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.

The altar is next mentioned, and it is said to be “before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting” despite it having the laver between it and the actual tent. This placement then answers to that of the altar of incense and the ark. Just as those two are being connected together, so are the brazen altar and the door.

Why would this be unless there was more symbolism which is calling out to be seen? What is it about the altar and the door which is so intricately connected? Again, we just need to go to the book of John and see which I AM statement of Jesus is next. In John 10:7 and again in John 10:9, He said that He is the Door. Immediately after this in John 10:11, He says –

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

The altar is where the sacrificial lamb was slaughtered for the sins of the people. And so Christ who gave His life is detailed directly after the door in the setting up of the sanctuary, and directly after the door in the book of John. Only by dying for the sins of the people can Christ be the Door by which we again have access to the Father.

There is a continued precision in the word which spans thousands of years, and the writing of these men who were inspired by the Spirit of God to write and record these things.

And you shall set the laver between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar, and put water in it.

Oddly, the NKJV changes the terms here from what should be “tent of meeting” to “tabernacle of meeting.” The KJV sticks with “tent” but says “of the congregation.” Both are incorrect. It is ohel moed, or “tent of meeting.”

It is before this, “tent of meeting” that the laver is next to be set up. However, the laver is closer to the tent than the altar, and it begs the question, “Why wasn’t this then detailed first?” We have partially answered this. The altar answers to the Door. One cannot enter the Door until the sins are paid for by the death of the sacrifice.

However, one who is dead cannot enter anything. If we simply died on the altar with Christ and nothing more happened, we would have a hard time moving. But something wonderful happens to those who die in Christ. They are raised to new life though the power of the Holy Spirit.

The laver, in a sense, is a foreshadowing of our baptism in Christ. When we are baptized, we are making a picture of what Christ has done for us. This is why the one baptizing should make two proclamations during the baptism. 1) Buried with Christ in His death – this is when the person is dunked under, and 2) Raised to newness of life by the power of the Holy Spirit – this is when the person is brought back up out of the water.

And this is what makes our continued journey possible. We don’t merely die with Christ, we are raised with Christ and seated with Him in the heavenly places. We gain access through the Door and continue heading west to the Land of Delight. And this is what the next I AM statement of Jesus proclaims. In John 11:25 –

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

One cannot wash and be sanctified if they are not resurrected. The laver is the seal that the resurrection has come about, and new life is granted. We are justified in Christ’s death; we are sanctified through the resurrection and the sealing of the Spirit. Paul tells us this in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 –

“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…

It is of note that the Hebrew of this verse specifically says v’natata sham mayim, or “and you shall put into it water.” They could have filled this laver first, but the Lord specifically calls for it to be placed and then filled. The reason is that one must first receive Christ, dying to sin before then being granted the Spirit. The order of the placement of each item is detailed and it is beautiful.

You shall set up the court all around,

The tabernacle and tent weren’t just exposed to the pagan world around them. They were instead enclosed by a court which kept the Holy Places separate from the world, and which also kept out any who would come near with empty hands. But, unlike Eden which was also closed off from the world, with no seeming possibility to reenter, we see that there is, in fact, a means of access…

8 (con’t) and hang up the screen at the court gate.

There was a masak, or covering, here as well. This is the same word that was just used in verse 5 for the screen at the doorway, but this time it leaves off the term pethakh, or door. Instead, it uses the term sha’ar, or “gate.” A different word is used to describe essentially the same thing. Why would this be? The answer is that once again, the terminology is given to show us the I AM proclamation of Christ. In John 14:6 comes that next statement –

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

There was one means of access into the sanctuary for the outside world – one and only one. Likewise, Jesus claims to be that exclusive access which this screen only pictures. He is the way back to restoration with God which was lost at the very dawn of man’s time on earth.

The world hates the concept of a single path to God, but Moses gave us a foreshadowing of it in Genesis 3, he continues to give us a taste of it in the details of the tabernacle, and Jesus boldly proclaimed that He alone is able to make these pictures and symbols come to life through His life, His work, and His being. We ignore these marvelous clues at our own great peril.

I Am the Lord who is here for you
I Am with you always, so have no fear
Be strengthened through My word, this you shall do
And through this word, to you I will come near

Trust in Me and know that I Am with you always
In your walk don’t be terrified or afraid
Instead, cling to this word throughout all of your days
And never let your heart from Me be swayed

Seek Me diligently and by you I shall be found
Look to Me and let Me be your delight
I Am here with you, as if by sight and by sound
I Am with you all the day, and throughout each long night

II. The Rite of Consecration (verse 9-16)

“And you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it; and you shall hallow it and all its utensils, and it shall be holy.

That everything associated with the tabernacle was to be anointed with oil is a clear reference to the presence of the Spirit. Without the life of the Spirit, nothing effectual for the redemptive process is possible. But when the Spirit is present, the anointing is both from the Spirit and for the Spirit.

If you missed the sermon on the holy anointing oil, it would be worth your time to go back and watch that. In it, you will gain an immensely detailed understanding of the work of Christ which is seen in every single detail. Just as the entire edifice was anointed, so the Spirit of Christ is behind every single aspect of the building of His church. Nothing occurs apart from Him, and all of it is for Him. As Paul says in Romans –

“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

10 You shall anoint the altar of the burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar. The altar shall be most holy.

Only after mentioning the tabernacle and all that is in it is that which is outside then anointed. However, in this verse it says that the altar shall be “most holy,” whereas the previous verse said that the tabernacle and all of it was said to be “holy.” The scholars at Cambridge seem to find a contradiction in this by stating –

“It is remarkable that, while in Exodus 30:29 …the Tent of Meeting with all the vessels belonging to it, are, by anointing, made ‘most holy’ …, here the altar only is ‘most holy,’ and the Tent of Meeting and all its contents are only ‘holy.’” Cambridge

As is typical with them, they try to introduce doubt into the minds of their readers as to the consistency, and thus the reliability, of the word. However, the difference in terminology does not signify any higher or lesser degree of holiness.

Instead, the terms are used as a caution for the priests and the people. The people could come no nearer to the Lord than the altar of burnt offering. It is termed “most holy” here as a warning that no layman could touch it, lest they become devoted to the Lord.

The “holy” of the other implements implies “most holy,” because only the priests could come near them. The holiness of the altar had to be precisely stated as “most holy” so that the people would not err and die.

11 And you shall anoint the laver and its base, and consecrate it.

Nothing is said of the laver and its base being holy or most holy, and yet, it is consecrated through anointing. This may seem odd, but the laver is after the altar where the common people could not pass. This implies that anyone who was at the laver was already acceptable to touch the altar, and thus they were holy.

However, the laver is for washing of defilement, something which is not holy. And so the laver itself must be most holy in order to wash away the defilement in order for the priests to be acceptable to go on, meaning into the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.

Everything about the laver speaks of a sanctification process which is needed for the already accepted priest of God to continue in his duties. It is the place where cleansing occurs as he goes about his business; it is the word of God – the Bible.

We come to it with stains and impurities, and we leave it cleansed and purified, and yet it never picks up our defilement. It is a constant and endless stream of water available to purify the soul of the believer.

Understanding this, are you using it as such? When you pick up the stains of life each day, do you come to it and wash yourself clean once again? You cannot move forward without it, and so come to it often and cleanse yourself with the healing water of the word.

12 “Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tabernacle of meeting and wash them with water.

Again, it is the tent, not the tabernacle. Make a note if your Bible says otherwise. The Bible is a book of beauty and precision, and so consistency in translation is always something to be desired.

It is at the door of the tent of meeting that Aaron and his sons were to be brought. This is speaking of where the laver stood, and it is from this laver that they would be fully washed, signifying their acceptability, once and for all, to be priests.

It is symbolic of the full washing that occurs the moment a believer comes to Christ. He is cleansed and he is purified from all unrighteousness. After this, the priests will only wash their hands and feet, signifying their on-going purification which was needed to keep them acceptable to perform their duties. The same is true for us, which is what is pictured in these ancient rites and rituals.

13 You shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest.

Aaron, though a fallen man, was a type of Christ as our High Priest. He was to be set apart and consecrated in order to serve as a priest. Likewise, as we saw in the details for the consecration of Aaron in Exodus 29, Christ Jesus was set apart for His duties as our true High Priest. That is referred to in the gospels, but it is most detailed and explained for us in the book of Hebrews.

For almost 1500 years, the priestly line of Aaron was invested with these holy garments which pointed to and pictured the coming Messiah. What is both exciting and saddening, is that there is a person alive today who has been selected as the next high priest of Israel. He will be washed, anointed, and consecrated for his duties, but there will be no true life in his investiture or in his actions.

Instead, Israel missed the boat and is heading down a misguided path of works under the law once again. The good of this is that eventually that path will lead them to their true Messiah. But it will be a path filled with pain and suffering before they get there.

14 And you shall bring his sons and clothe them with tunics.

The sons of Aaron are emblematic of the sons of God, through the work of Christ. It is we who they only picture. Their white tunics symbolize the pure white righteousness that we possess because of Him. These sons though, for the dispensation of the law, were those who ministered before the Lord in their daily duties.

15 You shall anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may minister to Me as priests;

The timing of the ordination of Aaron and his sons is often speculated to be later than that of the sanctuary. This is because it is detailed in Leviticus 8. However, this needs to be argued against for several reasons. The first is that though the command is given and only later enacted, the same is true with the sanctuary itself.

The Lord has given the command to erect it, and it will be erected after the command at the time specified. There is no reason to assume that just because the details of the priest’s ordination are written later, that they are actually conducted any later than that of the tabernacle itself. Secondly, in the raising up of the tabernacle, in verse 30-32 of this chapter, it says –

“He set the laver between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar, and put water there for washing; 31 and Moses, Aaron, and his sons would wash their hands and their feet with water from it. 32 Whenever they went into the tabernacle of meeting, and when they came near the altar, they washed, as the Lord had commanded Moses.”

Therefore, the details are already out of any chronological order, even as the erection of the details are being given. And thirdly, if the tabernacle and all of the associated furniture was considered holy through the consecration process, but Aaron and his sons were not, then they would not be able to serve as priests, or they themselves would incur guilt and die.

Rather, the recording of all of these details is done in specific categories rather than chronologically. The categorical details are kept together for a logical reading of each step of the process.

15 (con’t) for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.”

The priesthood of Aaron was anointed at this time, and it passed down to each subsequent generation after him. Any new anointing of later High Priests is glaringly left unstated, especially at the time of the transfer of the garments from Aaron to his son at Aaron’s death. However, from Leviticus 21:10 it does appear that each next high priest did have anointing oil poured over his head. From this, the priesthood was passed down as “an everlasting priesthood.”

Unfortunately, these words, everlasting priesthood, lead to one of the frequent questions I receive concerning the Law of Moses and its duration. How can we not be required to observe the law if it was for an everlasting priesthood throughout the generations? The question is faulty, because it doesn’t read the intent of the passage. The translation into English, though not incorrect, is vague. Further, it does not take in the whole counsel of Scripture.

An everlasting priesthood does not mean an eternal priesthood. The word olam simply means “to the vanishing point.” Whatever point in the eternal counsels of God that Christ would come and annul the first covenant, the priesthood would likewise be annulled. This is stated by the author of Hebrews –

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

The priesthood ended because it had reached its vanishing point. We serve God under a New Covenant. If you are still stuck under the Old, you err in your walk and you are not pleasing to God. Finally in this verse, it cannot go without note that this ordination process of Aaron and his sons corresponds directly to Jesus’ final I AM proclamation. In John 15, He said the following –

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:5-8

Only when one is in Christ can they be productive in Christ, but not all who are in Him are productive, nor does His word abide in them. The priests of Israel were ordained to be priests to God, just as we are called to be. They were to be about the Lord’s business and to be effective stewards of His. If His word failed to abide in them, there would be consequences.

As a confirmation of this, we read the following account of Aaron’s two oldest sons. They failed to let the word abide in their lives, and the fire consumed them,  just as Jesus’ words say about what will happen to us –

“Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying:
‘By those who come near Me
I must be regarded as holy;
And before all the people
I must be glorified.’
So Aaron held his peace.” Leviticus 10:1-3

The seven “I AM’s” of Jesus are reflected in the process of raising the tabernacle and in its consecration, and of that for Aaron and his sons. This cannot be by chance, but was by the guiding of the Holy Spirit each step of the way.

Let us now consider why the Ark and the Veil have no I AM statement attached to them. First, the Ark, which bears the word, pictures that which always existed – the Word of God. This is why it is introduced first as a statement of fact in John 1:1.

Next the Veil, which is explicitly said to be the body of Christ, was prepared by God for Christ to dwell in. That is why John 1:14 follows after the statement of John 1:1. Only then are the Seven I AM’s stated.

However, there is still one glaring omission concerning the furniture. There is no I AM statement for the Altar of Incense which is placed in front of the Veil between the Table of Showbread and the Menorah. Why would this be?

The reason is the same as the order in which it was instructed to be made. The Ark, the Table, and the Lampstand were all detailed in Exodus 25. However, the Altar of Incense wasn’t detailed until Exodus 30.

The placement of the Altar had to be noted in order here as the furniture was set up, but the purpose for it did not take effect until all of Christ’s work was finished. Only after the last I AM statement by Jesus in John 15 comes Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer of John 17.

The prayer of His for us, and our continued prayers today, took effect when Christ’s work was complete. Only when one is in Christ can their prayers be acceptable to God. As we noted earlier, the placement of this altar answers to the placement of the ark and veil, just as the placement of the Altar of Burnt offering answers to the door of the tent of meeting, bypassing the laver.

The precision in the layout, as is then matched by what occurs in the book of John, is simply astonishing. And so it is for us. Each step is logical and orderly as we move from understanding the work of Jesus to applying it to our lives. When we do, we are able to come boldly to the Throne of Grace where our prayers and petitions are heard once again.

Like the Ark and the Veil, no I AM statement is necessary for this altar. The work was fulfilled, and the nature of the Person is understood through what He has done. He is our Mediator, and through Him, our prayers, signified by the incense, is passed through Him to God.

Ark of the Testimony (containing the Word of God) / John 1:1

Veil (The Body of Christ) / John 1:14


Seven I AM’s

Table of Showbread – I AM the Bread of Life / John 6:35

Menorah – I AM the Light of the Word / John 8:12

Screen Door to Tent – I AM the Door / John 10:7

Altar – I AM the Good Shepherd / John 10:11

Laver – I AM the Resurrection and the Life – John 11:25

Screen to Courtyard – I AM the Way the Truth and the Life / John 14:6

The Anointing of Priests – I AM the True Vine / John 15:5-8


Altar of Incense / Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer of John 17

16 Thus Moses did; according to all that the Lord had commanded him, so he did.

This verse is rather similar to final words of the previous chapter –

“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

The difference is that Moses was the one to approve the work of the people, and so he looked it over and approved it and blessed the people. In this verse, Moses is himself being obedient to the word and the word itself is commending him for his actions. And so from construction to completion, the work is noted as having been accomplished according to all that the Lord had commanded.

As I said at the beginning of the sermon, and during it as well, the way in which these several points have followed the seven “I AM’s” of Jesus is more than remarkable. The divine fingerprint is to be found all the way throughout Scripture; each page validating that more than human wisdom was involved in the process.

The many places it was compiled, the many personalities involved in it, and the length of time in which these things took to be recorded is a validation all its own that we are holding in our hands the very word of God.

But adding on to that is the fact that many of these patterns, such as the one today, have been left unseen for the 2000 years that this book has been studied by faithful scholars. How is it that such patterns can suddenly come forth, and yet people deny that there is a deep wisdom behind the word?

Let us not fall into such skepticism, but rather, let us behold the beauty of this word, treasure its secrets in our hearts, and continue to look for more remarkable patterns which are waiting still for curious eyes to gaze upon and bring to light, to the glory of God who has placed them there.

And as we have seen numerous times today, these patterns reveal Christ. God is trying to wake us up to our need for Christ. And so, once again today, I would like to explain quickly, and with care, how you too can share in God’s marvelous offer of peace which is granted through Him…

Closing Verse: “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’” John 8:58

Next Week: Exodus 40:17-38 I tried to find a word to rhyme, so I didst… (The Lord in Their Midst) (105th 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.


Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:
These are the words He was then relaying

On the first day of the first month, do not forget
The tabernacle of the tent of meeting, up you shall set

You shall put in it the ark of the Testimony, please understand
And partition off the ark with the veil, per my command

You shall bring in the table
And arrange the things that are to be set in order on it
And you shall bring in the lampstand
And light its lamps, to this you shall commit

You shall also set the altar of gold
For the incense before the ark of the Testimony
And put up the screen for the door of the tabernacle
Follow this order as given by Me

Then you shall set the altar of the burnt offering
Before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting

And you shall set the laver between
The tabernacle of meeting and the altar
And put water in it
No portion of this detail shall be allowed to falter

You shall set up the court all around, as I now state
And hang up the screen at the court gate

And you shall take the anointing oil
And anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it
And you shall hallow it and all its utensils
And it shall be holy, as I to you submit

You shall anoint the altar of the burnt offering
And all its utensils, and the altar consecrate
The altar shall be most holy
This condition of it I now to you relate

And you shall anoint the laver and its base
And consecrate it, there in its place

Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door
Of the tabernacle of meeting and wash them with water
On them the water you shall pour

You shall put the holy garments on Aaron
And anoint him and consecrate him too
That he may minister to Me as priest
These things to him you are to do

And you shall bring his sons
And clothe them with tunics, so shall it be
You shall anoint them, as you anointed their father
That they may as priests minister to Me

For their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood
Throughout their generations, as is to be understood

Thus Moses did; each and everything as he was bid
According to all that the LORD had commanded him, so he did

Heavenly Father, how precious is your word
And how marvelous it is to read it and find Jesus
Each page that we turn, it reveals our great Lord
Who has done such wonderful things for us

O God, our hearts are directed to You
And so be with us in all that we do
Let us never stray from the path which is true
And each day through Your word, please – our souls renew

And in this we will give You our highest praise
As we wait on our Lord’s return – that most marvelous of days

Hallelujah and Amen…


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

Exodus 39:1-43
And Moses Blessed Them

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only after Christ fulfilled the law could the work of our hands be established. And only through the administration of a New Covenant, in the mediation of a better High Priest, can we hope to please God. Thank God for Christ Jesus who does all of this for us! Yes, it’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. A Better Priesthood (verses 1-31)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*43 (fin) And Moses blessed them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Work is Accomplished

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah and Amen…

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

Exodus 38:9-31
The Always Evident Lord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have this treasure right next to us and available to us. It is finite in size, and yet its value and its worth are infinite. Such is the marvel and the wonder of this superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Always Evident Lord (verses 9-20)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II. The Inventory (verses 21-31)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Courtyard and the Inventory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah and Amen…


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is what the Lord would ask of you, and this is the lesson that is found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Justification (verses 1-7)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tetelestai – “It is finished.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

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

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

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

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

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

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20

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

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

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

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

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

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

II. Sanctification (verse 8)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christ, Our Altar and Our Laver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah and Amen…