In Exodus 38-40, the construction of the tabernacle is completed by the craftsmen, presented to Moses, set up, and dedicated to the LORD. Israel had been delivered from bondage in Egypt, and God had become the center of their lives.
Beginning in the brickyards of Egypt and ending in the tabernacle filled with God's presence, the book of Exodus chronicles the deliverance of God's people from Egypt and records the end of their oppression under Pharaoh. It also provides an account of the beginning of a prophecy fulfilled: God promised Abraham descendants beyond number, and on the pages of Exodus we see Israel become a great nation.
In this verse-by-verse study, Pastor Skip Heitzig presents an in-depth look at Moses, the ten plagues, the ten commandments, the desert wanderings, the construction of the tabernacle, and more. As we study, we'll see the grace of God, witness the glory of the Lord, and a catch a glimpse of Israel's coming Savior.
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Hebrew Terms: mishkan - tabernacle; ohel - tent; מֹועֵֽד׃; moed - meeting; שכינה; Shekinah - residence
Publications Referenced: "My Heart, Christ's Home," by Robert Boyd Munger
Figures Referenced: Rabbi Rashi;
Cross References: Genesis 15:13-14; Exodus 25:8; 1 Kings 7; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 8:5; Revelation 4
Topic: The Tabernacle
Keywords: Tabernacle, Bronze Altar, Laver, Sea, High Priest, Day of Atonement
Turn in your bibles tonight if you would to the book of Exodus chapter 38 and we'll pray. Lord I thank you personally for my brothers and sisters who have gathered here tonight. We gather Lord because we love you and we want to hear from you and we want to see how the old predicts the new, anticipates the new. Even as Moses spoke about another coming one, another prophet that the nation of Israel was to receive and Steven in the new covenant tells us that that is the Lord Jesus Christ. So we see how Jesus is spoken about, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the pen of biblical authors. Lord as we cover and finish this wonderful book that gives us the background of redemption and we see how it mirrors our redemption. Lord I pray that our faith would deepen our trust in you would go deeper than before. I pray Lord you'd give us grace to be able to hear and to assimilate and to understand and thank you Lord for such ready and eager hearts who as an active worship will sit through an evening of bible study giving your word the attention that is due. We ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.
We've witnessed the birth of a nation. It's been very exciting. It's been very painful. The nation of course is the nation if Israel being birth out of the delivery room of Egypt. That's been the painful part. The labor pains in Egypt to get that two to three million people out into the desert totally dependent on God on the way to the land, the land of Canaan that God promised them. I was amazed almost a year ago when my grandson was born and the doctor decided to do it through cesarian section. I guess I was amazed because Seth came quickly. She went into the delivery room the nurse took Janean(ph) and she said, "We'll be back in 15 minutes." And sure enough almost 15 minutes that baby came out healthy, beautiful, not squished by the birth canal it was like amazing. Of course I was amazed I would say, "Boy that's painless." Of course my daughter had to suffer the recovery the pain of the incision of the cesarian section. But I contrast that to when my son was born and my wife was in labor for hours and I remember standing over her bed saying, "Push honey, push honey." That was my big contribution and we took those crazy classes back then where we were like--trying to teach her to blow. That was a painful delivery. The birth of the nation of Israel from the brickyards of Egypt was a painful delivery. But God anticipated and predicted that even to Abraham back in Genesis chapter 15. He said "Abraham, know that your descendants will be in a land that is not their own and they will be afflicted and they will serve those who afflict them for 400 years." So God said, "The labor is going to be difficult."
The very next verse says, "But then I will judge that nation that afflicts my people and my people will come out with great possession." We saw that's exactly what happened and in our studies of light especially last week we saw what they did with those great possessions. They took up an offering and tonight we'll be able to total what that offering was and how they contributed to the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness which is chapters 35 through 40. Now can I just drag your memory in looking back over the book of Exodus, we divided it up into three parts, part number one, domination by Egypt chapters one through 12. Number two, liberation from Egypt, Chapters 13 through 18. Third division, revelation after Egypt, chapters 19 through 40.
Domination, liberation, revelation, you know what? That sums up your life. That's your testimony. You were delivered from the bondage of sin whenever that was, years ago, months ago, a week ago. God delivered you. You became his. You were dominated by the old, you were liberated by God into the new and then the process of revelation began. God revealed himself to you. You grew in the grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. So those three elements, the same that we find in Exodus is the testimony of every single believer.
We begin in chapter 38 and as I mentioned last week because these chapters are repetitive, I'm not going to repeat every verse. I'm going to draw your attention to certain highlights and salient points because basically from chapter 35 to 40 which is a repetition of chapters 25 anyway. Yes 25 through 28 where God says Moses make these things and now we read Moses and the people made those things. And it just details the same things God said "Make, they made". There are some differences, so I'll draw your attention to that otherwise I'm just going to give you the highlights.
Look at this section as take two. That's what I said last week. This is take two. Take one was the failure. Moses went up to the mountain, received the revelation, came back down, they were worshipping the golden calf. He broke the commandments, the stone commandments, the two tablets of the law. The people were mournful, a number of them died. Moses goes back up the mountain, receives more revelation, comes back down the mountain and now the people rallied together in unison and in obedience. And they build what is to be the center of their worship in their history.
Chapter 38 continuing on describes the most prominent article of furniture in that courtyard which was an altar of sacrifice. Now do you remember if you were to look at the tabernacle, you'd see a white fence made out of cloth. If you're looking at it from anywhere in the camp, you're looking toward it. You would see a courtyard that is surrounded by this perimeter fence. The fence encircled property that was about half the length of a modern football field. The outer court was a 150 deep by 75 feet wide.
As I mentioned, it was seven and a half feet tall. So nobody could see into the courtyard and see what was happening. So the priest who operated within the courtyard had a measure of privacy as sacrifices were being conducted. But there was this altar. It was a prominent altar. If you were to walk into the courtyard, the first thing you would see and the most imposing was this bronze altar where sacrifices were made. Animals were laid upon them, the throat was slit, the blood was drained, the animal was sacrificed. That altar became the basis of the entire covenant. Sacrifice.
If you are going to approach God, if you're going to worship God, the basis of that approach and the basis of that worship is blood sacrifice. You cannot God or have a relationship with him unless there is blood that is shed and that is an Old Testament fixed commandment. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. So verse one "He made the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood five cubits was its length." So it's seven and a half feet. "Five cubits its width and it was square and its height three and a half cubits. He made horns on the corners. Horns were of one piece width that he overlaid it with bronze." Go down to verse eight something else was seen if you were in that courtyard and you saw that big altar. As you're moving toward the tent structure now, the holy of holies. Something that is enclosed now, you see another article of furniture and that is a laver or a wash basin. It says in verse eight "He made the laver of bronze and its base a bronze from the bronze, mirrors for the deserving women who assemble at the door of the tabernacle of meeting."
So you see ladies, they had mirrors even back then. So don't let anybody lay a trip on you saying "Oh people today are so vain." The Hebrew ladies back then had mirrors, every cultures had them. They were highly polished metal, copper or brass. In this case a combination bronze, highly polished so that they could have a reflection. Something about the laver, this wash basin. No dimensions are given to the laver like to the altar or to the table of showbread or to the Ark of the Covenant. All of them are given dimensions. You're to make it exactly this dimension. Not the laver, there's no prescription for how big it is to be at least in the scriptures. So when Solomon will build his temple and you won't get to this until First Kings. You know we'll be in heaven by that time.
In 1 Kings Chapter seven, Solomon makes this thing so big when he builds the temple in Jerusalem. The laver is seven and half feet tall, 15 feet in diameter, from rim to rim, 45 feet in circumference and holds 10,000 gallons of water. You could dive in it. If it had jets, you'd have a big Jacuzzi. It was huge, it was enormous. So he just really you know buffed it out. It's like the laver on steroids, it was massive because there's not dimensionality given to it and there was an enormous amount of priest that needed cleansing. So that is the laver and that is also in the outer courtyard. They get the metal for this thing from the mirrors that the women who approached the tabernacle, served at the tabernacle door had.
Now tonight I'm going to give you a few pieces of insight that you wouldn't get from normal commentaries. They come from Jewish sources, some are tradition, some are written down. But according to one of the Rabbis from the 11th century called Rabbi Rashi, he said that originally Moses refused to take the offering of this metal that was to be used for the laver. The reason he refused is because it was the metal for mirrors or it was an offering of vanity. That's how Rashi said Moses viewed it, so Moses said no, I will not receive this offering. But the Rabbi says, but God insisted that he take it because these women had also been with their husbands during that long wilderness journey, suffered the same kind of inhumanity from Pharaoh as the husbands did.
The same kind of bitter suffering their husbands did that these women cared for their husbands and cooked for their husbands and gave children to their husbands. Therefore, God insisted that Moses take these mirrors. That's just a tradition. That's just what Rashi said but nonetheless that is a Jewish belief that he originally refused to but God insisted that he take it. The laver, this wash basin was for the priest to wash their hands and their feet as they're officiating the sacrifices that take place for the nation.
Now at this point, I have to insert a couple pieces of information for you. In the eighth chapter of Hebrews, the writer of Hebrews says that the priest in the tabernacle and the temple served in a structure, the tabernacle. That was a copy of what is going on in heaven. The copy of the real that in heaven there is something going on that the tabernacle was a mere shadow of it says. That's Hebrews chapter eight, that the true abiding place of God is in heaven. The tabernacle is some mirror, some model of what is going on in heaven. So when we get to the book of Revelation and John in chapter four says "I looked up and I saw a door standing open in heaven and he's caught up to the throne of God. He sees some things that are very similar and indeed very much like the tabernacle."
He sees the throne of God, not the Ark of the Covenant, but God sitting on his throne. This is the real deal now. That's not just the presence of God between the cherubim on the mercy seat, but God is on the throne and John is able to see that in vision form. Also instead of two golden angels overshadowing the throne of God, there are four living creatures that are worshipping and around the throne of God day and night. Also John says he saw an altar of incense. There was one in the tabernacle. He sees one in heaven. Instead of seeing a 7-branch golden candlestick, John says "I saw seven fold fires or candlesticks."
Seven fires which are the seven spirits of God burning before the throne of God. But he sees no laver, no wash basin. Instead he's standing, get this "On a sea of glass as clear as crystal." In the tabernacle we had a laver with water. In Solomon's time, he made a big, big laver. He called it the molten sea. John is standing on a sea of glass. I submit to you that that is the fulfilled form of the laver in the Old Testament. Why glass? Because it's solid now, in the Old Testament, you needed to cleanse before every sacrifice. In heaven, you're standing on the finished work of Christ. There's no need of cleansing, it's solid. You're standing on solid ground now. A sea of glass, clear as crystal, the finished work of Christ depicted in heaven but not a laver of water, not a molten sea like in Solomon's time but a sea of glass as clear as crystal, the finished work of Christ.
Here's something else to just ask and note before we move on also in this verse. Who are these women gathered at the door of the tabernacle performing some kind of ministry or service while we don't know. But according to traditions and Jewish history, these were women who dedicated their lives to prayer. They would gather at the tabernacle and they would pray for the nation of Israel. Pray for the priest. They were dedicating themselves to do anything they could to help the Lord out in his priesthood. This will become a problem later on. When we get to the book of First Samuel in chapter two, Ely would be the high priest. He'll have two sons. Remember their names, Hophni and Phinehas. It says they did not know the Lord. They were corrupt and it says in that chapter that Hophni and Phinehas, the priest would sleep or go to bed, have sexual relations with the women who came to the door at the tabernacle. Taking advantage of the position of authority that they had and it became a real problem. But at first it was a beautiful gesture, they gather for prayer, gather for service.
Go down to verse 21. All the hangings are made the court, the courtyard is all described in the verses I'm skipping which we have read before. Verse 21 "this is the inventory of the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony which was counted according to the commandment of Moses and for the service of Levites by the hand of Ithamar, the son of Aaron the priest. So this guy was in charge of inventorying and tallying up the cost of this thing. Bezaleel, you remember him? The artist. The son Uri, the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah made all that the Lord commanded Moses. Now stop there for a moment. There's an interesting construction we see here Bezaleel, son of Uri, the son of Hur.
Why not just Bezaleel, the son of the first guy? Why mention the third generation? Hur or Her, H-U-R, why the third generation? Here's where tradition comes in again. According to some of the Jewish writings in this time the Midrash, it says that originally Hur, H-U-R, the grandpa of Bezaleel, the artist when that whole golden calf incident happened and the people of Israel were worshipping the golden calf, rebelling in their idolatry. That one of the people who stood against the mob was this man Hur. Who insisted that the people of Israel worship Yahweh and worshipped in the manner that God prescribed. And so the mob killed him and worshipped the golden calf and so to honor his memory, his memory is served here by adding that. The third generation, so it's Bezaleel, the done of Uri, the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah.
Verse 24, now watch this. Listen to how much gold. All the gold that was used in the work of the holy place that is the gold of the offering was 29 talents and 730 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. And the silver from those who were number of the congregation was 100 talents and 1,775 shekels according to the shekel of the sanctuary, a back up for each man that is, half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary for every one including the numbering from 20 years old and above for 603,550 men.
And form the talents of the silver, they were cast offered at the sanctuary and the bases of the veil 100 sockets from the 100 talents, one talent for each socket. Then from the 1,775 shekels, made hooks for the pillars, overlaid their capitals, made bands for them. The offering of bronze, verse 29 was 70 talents and 2,400 shekels.
Now here when you read the word shekel, if you've ever been to Israel, you go oh I know what that is, that's the coinage, that's the currency in Israel." They didn't have coins back then. Coinage was not developed in nations of the world of that time. So the shekel here doesn't refer to coins or currency as we know the dollar of the shekel or the Euro. It refers to the shekel in terms of weight, not coinage. You see coins weren't even invented until the eight century B.C. By a people group named the Lydians in Anatolia which is modern day Turkey. That's where coinage was developed. So this is the ancient measurement. But is you want to know what it would cost, this is about one ton of gold or in modern terms, $5.1 million worth of gold, that's one offering.
About $4 million worth of silver and since there was two and a quarter to two and a half tons of bronze in the modern in the worth. It's about almost $7,000, $6,800 worth of that. Besides that, the tapestries and the labor to put all this together, six months worth of labor, so you have in just raw material and metals almost $10 million worth of precious metals that they're hauling around the wilderness. That's a sizable offering. That's a generous offering. Remember it says the people last gave too much and Moses had to say "tell them to stop, we have too much." They were making it to spec, God's specs. But these people were whole hearted. In take two, they were generous in take two and they wanted to make sure that what God had commanded, they would fulfill. So there are hopeful signs at first.
Chapter 39 it starts out by telling us about the garments, the garments that the priest would wear and the garments that the high priest would wear. And again we've covered a lot of it but notice a few things of the blue, purple and scarlet red. They made garments of ministry. For ministering in the holy place and made the holy garments fro Aaron as the Lord had commanded Moses. There's a phrase that I just want you to pick up on because it's repeated so often and when anything is repeated, it's because God wants you to see it. So there's a repeated phrase throughout the next two chapters. I'm just going to give you a sampling. Verse one it says, the holy garments for Aaron as the Lord commanded Moses, look at verse five. "And the intricately woven band that he was thought that was on it was of the same workmanship, woven of gold, blue, purple, scarlet red and fine woven linen as the Lord had commanded Moses." Verse seven "he put them on the shoulders of the ephod this memorial stones for the sons of Israel as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Verse 21, "they bound the breast plate by means of its rings to the rings of the ephod with a blue chord so it would be above the intricately woven band of the ephod and that the breastplate would not come loose from the ephod as the Lord had commanded Moses." Verse 26 "a bell and pomegranate", this is now the robe. "A bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe to minister in as the Lord had commanded Moses." Verse 29 "a sash of fine woven linen with blue, purple scarlet red made by a weaver as the Lord had commanded Moses." Verse 31 "And they tied to it a blue chord to fasten it above the turban as the Lord had commanded Moses." So we have an emphasis placed here by the author who is Moses humanly but by the Holy Spirit who is the divine author.
God wants you to know that the people of Israel are obeying God. They're doing everything God told them to do through Moses as the Lord commanded Moses. There are enough things that the children of Israel will do that we want to avoid. They did a lot of bad things and the bible will exhort us in First Corinthians ten "don't be like them." You might remember that chapters and it says and don't be like the people in the wilderness who as they were marching through the wilderness practiced idolatry and worshipped a golden calf. Don't do that. And Paul continues and says "nor let us practice sexual immorality as some of them did and a lot of them died.' Nor let us complain as some of them did and were buried in the desert.
So Paul says there's a lot of things they did that we want to avoid. But there are some things that they did that we want to emulate. They gathered together in take two they decided, you know what? That whole golden calf thing, bad form, we don't want to do that, and we want to worship God, let's gather together in unity. They gave generously and they're whole hearted in their devotion to God. So again very hopeful signs, they're starting to do exactly what the Lord commanded Moses. So that's the repeated phrase. It's repeated in this chapter and in chapter 40, but I don't want go through it all. Go back now to verse one. Where beginning in verse one down several verses, the articles of clothing are given for the priest, and the high priest specifically. Let me sum it up this way.
There were eight articles of clothing that the high priest wore. Four of those articles were the same ones that the priest in general wore. But there were four that were special to the high priest. There was first of all the ephod, it was vest. The ephod was connected together by two stones. One in each shoulder on one stone was inscribed six of the names of the children of Israel, on the other stone, six of the other tribes of Israel, so represented by the strength of his arm, the people of Israel.
Number two, there was a breastplate that hung around his neck. There were 12 stones on it representing the 12 tribes of Israel. It was really a cloth sack folded in half and there was slit inside it that were two other stones were placed called the Urim and Thummim. Stones that were used to discern what the will of God was in special cases. Number three, there was a special blue robe for the high priest. His robe is different and that he had at the hem woven pomegranates and little golden bells. There was a pomegranate and then a golden bell. A pomegranate and a golden and all around the hem of the garment so that the other priest cold hear as the high priest was ministering to the Lord in the holy place in the holy of holies because the bells would tinkle. The fourth thing was a crown upon the head that said "holiness into the Lord" and so these articles of clothing are given their, how there to be sewn, what kind of thread is to be used, et cetera.
Something I want to just throw in the banks. Here they're called garments of ministry. A couple of times, they're also called garments of beauty. I mean they're beautiful, there was gold thread woven in. There were beautiful embroidered works of art on them and gold bells et cetera. It was beautiful and costly. Garments of beauty but once a year, get this, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest laid aside his garments of beauty. When he took blood and sprinkled it upon that mercy seat in the holy of holies, he laid aside the beautiful garments and came in a plain white linen garment. So on the Day of Atonement when blood was offered for the sin of the people, he laid aside his garments and he walked and performed the sprinkling of blood in the common linen garment of the other priest or of a commoner. It's an amazing parallel to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians Chapter 2 tells us, "Jesus who was in the form of God or who was in very nature God and thought it not robbery to be equal with God yet he made himself of no reputation," which means he divested himself or poured himself out. "He laid aside his garments of glory, all of the worship of the angels in heaven, all the prerogatives of his deity," not deity itself. He was God in human flesh. He laid that aside, left heaven and came to the earth, laid aside the garments of beauty and taking on the form of a man, Paul said, "He humbled himself to his own death on the cross." Like the high priest who on the Yom Kippur would lay aside the garments of beauty. So I wanted to throw that into the next, I couldn't resist. It's beautiful.
Beginning in Verse 31 of this chapter, we're almost done with this chapter. The builders, the craftsmen, the people who did the sawing and the building of all the implements are now presenting a completed tabernacle with this furniture to Moses. So Verse 32, "Thus all the work of the tabernacle at the tent of meeting was finished and the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, and so they did."
Now we have a question and I'll throw it up briefly because it was texted in, what is the symbolism of the bronze in the altar? Bronze is a metal that is more common than gold, less costly than gold. Gold speaks of deity, it's in the inner sanctum, it's where the Ark of the Covenant, the altar of incense, the golden table of showbread, the menorah or the seven-branched candlestick, all of that speaks of deity. The bronze is a metal of judgment. It's enduring, it's less costly, it was wood overlaid with bronze so bronze becomes a metal of judgment because in the outer court that is where sin was judged.
A priest would lay his hand upon the animal transferring figuratively the sin of the people to the animal and then on that altar of bronze or brass, sacrifice was made, back to our text.
All the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses and so they did and they brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all of its furnishings is clasped, boards, bars, pillars, sockets, the coverings of ram skins, dyed red coverings of badges skins, the veil on the covering. Verse 41, "And the garments of the ministry" -- I'm just summing it up. The minister in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and his son's garment to minister as priests. According to all that the Lord had commanded Moses so the children of Israel did all the work. And then Moses looked over all the work and indeed they had done it. As the Lord had commanded, so they had done it. And Moses blessed them.
The last chapter is the fun part. That is if I were living back then it's the fun part because this is where they set it up. They made it, they brought it to Moses, now they set it up. And this is where the whole old covenant begins. Up until now it's all been in the planning stages. Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying "On the first day of the first month, you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting."
I want to draw your attention to something that at least I found interesting and I hope what I say is helpful to you. Up to this point there have been two terms that have been kept separate because they refer to two separate things. Now they're combined because they refer to one thing. In Verse 1, notice the little phrase, "The tabernacle of the tent of meeting". Now up until now the Hebrew word for tabernacle has been mishkan. Mishkan is the tabernacle that they built. But there was another phrase that was used and that's the second one, the tent of meeting. And in Hebrew it's Ohel Moed or the place of meeting. That was the tent that Moses set up outside the camp. Remember that? Moses set a special tent out there where the Glory of the Lord appeared and Moses would go in and talk to the Lord. That's where they would have conversations face to face. That was the tent of meeting or the Ohel Moed, the Mishkan, the tabernacle was being constructed. So now those two terms come together indicating that up to this point there were sort of two entities and Moses' tent was simply temporary until now.
Now something is permanent and that is the tabernacle becomes both the places where sacrifices are made, where the priest officiate, where the people are represented and where the Glory of the Lord will rest.
Verse 3, "You shall put in the Ark the testimony and the partition, or you shall put in it the ark of the testimony", the partition of the Ark with the veil. That's after they set it up. Go down to Verse 16. Thus Moses did according to all that the Lord had commanded so they did. And it came to pass on the first month of the second year on the first day of the month that the tabernacle was raised up. Okay, so get this, this becomes the first calendar month in Judaism, it's the month of Abib. Later on it will be referred to as Nissan.
So I just want to clear up something for you because sometimes you're going to read Abib and sometimes you're going to read Nissan and you go and "I don't get it. There is two different names but they refer to the exact same month, why?"
The original name was Abib but later the children of Israel will be taken into Babylonian captivity for 70 years and al of the names of the months of their calendar get Babylonian names after the exile. And the Babylonian name for the first month is Nissan. So that's why you read one or both, one or the other throughout the scripture, it's the same month. It's the first spring month in which Passover will fall.
So the date is given and it happens to be two weeks prior to the first year anniversary of them leaving Egypt, almost exactly a year after they leave Egypt the tabernacle was done. Or nine months after they arrived at Sinai the tabernacle was built.
Verse 20, "He took the testimony" -- that is the 10 commandments. The two tablets of stone, 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. And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, hung up the veil on the covering and partitioned off the ark of the testimony as the Lord commanded Moses.
Which set did Moses put inside the Ark of the Covenant? Which set of the Ten Commandments, the first set or the second set? Second set because the first set was broken, but do you know that according to Jewish tradition, not only the second set but the pieces of the first set were also put in. Don't know where they got that, it doesn't say that it's simply a tradition.
Verse 25, "And he lit the lamps before the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses." He put the gold altar in the tabernacle of meeting in front of the veil. And he burned sweet incense on it s the Lord commanded Moses. Now it says he did this, he did this, he did this, who did this? Moses. Notice here that Moses is performing priestly duties. Not Aaron, Moses is. Until Aaron and his sons are consecrated so there was a week of consecration where Aaron was consecrated, we talked about that a few studies back. Aaron and his sons were consecrated.
During that week before the priest system was set up, it was Moses who performs some of these functions until that week was up and then the priesthood was in tact and they took it over from there. Go down to Verse 33.
"And he raised up the court all around of the tabernacle in the altar and hung up screen of the court gate. And so Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tabernacle meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." You should know that this is a fulfillment of a promise made in Chapter 25 where God says "Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them." They make the sanctuary now God moves to town.
Now he's dwelling among them just like he said, he's doing it. So the seal of approval was the cloud. The cloud showing up, the glory of the Lord filling that place was the seal of approval that everything was right. God is dwelling with his people.
Now if you fast forward to the times of Solomon when he built the temple in Jerusalem, the same exact thing happens. The glory of the Lord shows up, the glory of the Lord, the cloud fills that place and the mist of that cloud is so thick that the priest couldn't even see to minister they had to leave the premises. It was God's seal of approval on that covenant.
Verse 35, "Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting because the cloud rested above and then the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. But if the cloud was taken up they did not journey until the day that it was taken up for the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day and the fire was over by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.
This cloud is given another name. Do you know what it is? I've heard a few of you so you say Shekhinah. That would be correct is the Shekhinah would be the --I think correct pronunciation. Abby will correct me if I'm not. Shekhinah, it literally means the residents. God is residing with his people. But that term, the Shekhinah or Shekhinah is found nowhere in the Bible in the Old Testament, then up here.
We get the term from one of the Targums. Anybody hear of the word Targums? Targums were commentaries on Old Testament scripture written in Aramaic, it was written in Aramaic because that was the language of the Calvians, the Babylonian captivity. So for the sake of the people living in Babylonian captivity whose lingua franca was not Hebrew but it was Babylonian, it was written in Aramaic so that they can understand that that's the term that comes from the Targum, the Aramaic word Shekhinah. That's where we get it but it means the presence of the Lord or the residence of the Lord, God who was dwelling among them.
So the chapter now closes up. Now it's functioning and the tabernacle becomes the center of their life all through out the wilderness wanderings and when they cross over into the new land, they crossed the Jordan River. The first camp is at Gilgal, the tabernacle is set up at Gilgal. Later on before Josh would die, as Joshua moves the tabernacle up to the center of the country Shiloh. And it's there for a number of years like through out the book of judges. It won't be until the time of David, the Ark of the Covenant of course gets displaced in Philistine territory but it's really under David and moreover under Solomon where it's all moved to Jerusalem, a temple is built. And something that was temporary, the tabernacle becomes something permanent and that is the temple.
The center of their nation is the tabernacle. The center of their camp is the tabernacle. This is a TheoCentric nation. God is at the center, God dwells at the center. And I think that's a great way to end the book, God is dwelling in the center of national life. The book began in the brickyards of Egypt, the book ends in the wilderness with God at the center. And that's the challenge for us. We have been a redeem to people. We are redeemed people. We have been redeemed like they were redeemed from Egypt in bondage. We've been redeemed from the bondage of sin. The question is, is God at the center of your life? Is he dwelling in the nits of his people?
There's a little book that I have quoted from for years, the latest copy is only a buck. It's written by Robert Boyd Munger and it's called My Heart - Christ's Home. I'll recommend it to you. It's an allegory of inviting Christ into your heart which is likened into a home. Let me give you just a few lines of it if you don't mind. "I will never forget the evening I invited him into my heart. What an entrance he made. It was not a spectacular or emotional thing but very real occurring at the very center of my soul. He came into the darkness of my heart and he turned on the light. He built a fire in the cold heart and banished the chill. He started sweet music where there have been stillness and harmony where there has been discord. He filled the emptiness with his own loving fellowship.
I have never regretted it opening the doors to Christ, and I never will. After Christ entered my heart, in the joy of that new found relationship I said to him, ‘Lord I want this heart of mine to be yours. I want to settle -- I want you to settle down and be fully at home here. I want you to use it as your own.' Let me show you around and point out some of the features of the home that you may be more comfortable. I want you to enjoy our time together. He was glad to come and seemed delighted to be given a place in my ordinary little heart. The first room we looked at together" -- don't worry I won't read the whole booklet. "The first room we looked at together was the study, the library.
Let's call it the study of the mind. Now in my home, this room of the mind is a small room with thick walls but it's an important room in a sense. It's the control room of the house. He entered with me and looked around at the books, and the bookcase, the magazines on the table, the pictures in the walls as I followed his gaze I became uncomfortable. Strangely enough, I had not felt bad about this room before but now that he was there with me looking at these things, well I was embarrassed. There were some books on the shelves that his eyes were too pure to look at.
On the table are a few magazines that is a Christian I had no business reading. As for the pictures on the walls, the imaginations and thoughts of my mind, well some of these were shameful. Red-faced I turned to him and said ‘Master, I know this room really needs to be cleaned up and made over. Will you give me help to shape it up and change it like it should be?' ‘Certainly' he replied. ‘I'm glad to help. I've come to handle things like this. First of all let's take away the material you're reading.' And he throws it out and replaces it with the bible, helps him struggle with his thoughts. The next room is the dining room where his appetites were" -- let me get to this part.
"Morning after morning I have to go downstairs to the living room. He would take a book of the Bible from the bookcase, open it and we would read together. He would unfold to me the wonder of God saving truth recorded in its pages and make my heart sing as he shared all that he had done for me and would be to me. Those times together were wonderful. Through the bible and his holy spirit we would talk. In prayer I would respond. And so our friend should deepen in then these quiet times of personal conversation. Moreover under the pressure of many responsibilities, little by little this time began to be shortened. Why, I'm not sure. Somehow I assumed I was too busy to give special regular time to be with Christ.
This was not a deliberate decision you understand, it just seemed to happen this way. Eventually not only was the Perry had shortened but I began to miss days now and then such as during midterms or finals, matters of urgency demanding my attention were continually crowding out the quiet times of conversation. Often I would miss two days in a row, even more. One morning, I recall rushing down the steps in a hurry to be on my way to an important appointment. As I pass the living room, the door was open. Glancing in, I saw fire in the fireplace and Jesus sitting there. Suddenly in dismay, it came to me. He is my guest! I invited him into my heart. He has come as my savior and friend to live with me and yet here I am neglecting him.
I stopped, turned and hesitantly went in. With the downcast glance I said ‘Master, I'm sorry. Have you been here every morning?' ‘Yes' he said. ‘I told you I would be here to meet with you.' I was even more ashamed. He had been faithful in spite of all my faithlessness. I asked him to forgive me and he did as always. But then he said, ‘The trouble is that you have been thinking of this quiet time of Bible study and prayer as a means for your own spiritual growth. This is true that you have forgotten that this means something to me also. Remember I love you. At a great cost I have redeemed. I value your fellowship just to have you look into my face warms my heart. Don't neglect this hour if only for my sake.'"
There's much more of this little booklet and I'll refrain and you can pick it up, My Heart - Christ's Home by Robert Boyd Munger. Jesus wants to be at the center of our lives, is he? Only you can answer that. God was dwelling at the center of the camp of Israel.
Now as we close, speaking of tradition there is a Hebrew tradition in the synagogues that after every book of the Torah is read, once it's finished, whether it's Genesis or Exodus or Leviticus or Numbers or Deuteronomy, when any of those five books are completed in the synagogue, the congregation says "Be strong, be strong and let us strengthen one another". Isn't that beautiful? So let's say that. "Be strong, be strong and let us strengthen one another."
Let's pray. Father thank you for the opportunity we've had over many months to study the Book of Exodus.And now we have the book of beginnings, Genesis and the second book, the book of deliverance, the Exit from Egypt. We have those books under our belt. We've learned a lot. We've gleaned much true. And now we're all accountable for what we've heard. All of us, we submit our very lives to you Lord, we want you at the center of them and I pray that we as your people would glorify you and you admit with us over the pages of scripture and in prayer by your holy spirit. We pray that our hearts would be the kind of homes that you feel like you could kick your shoes off and dwell intimately with and make yourself at home in. We pray that our lives would reflect the dimension of that relationship in its fullness. We ask these things in Jesus name, Amen.