Sunday, September 2, 2012

LI - Exodus - The Tabernacle Built

Exodus Chapters 35-40  -  The Tabernacle Built

We now come to the ending of the book of Exodus.  Many things have taken place in this book.  As you have looked at the list of "Think on These Things", you have already given this book the review you need.

God prepared and called Moses to deliver the Hebrew slaves from Egypt.  Great plagues fell on Egypt.  God lead His people out through the Red Sea.  God guided them through various trials through the wilderness and on to Mount Sinai.  They entered a covenant and received the law.  There at the foot of Mount Sinai they broke the covenant, but found forgiveness.  And from there, they shall build a tabernacle and move north toward the Promised Land.

Today's post concerns the building of the tabernacle and the coming of God's glory in it.  In much of this passage, the Bible passages repeat, word for word, from chapters 25 to 31.  In those previous chapters, God was giving Moses specific instructions.  In the chapters in this post, however, it tells of the actual building of the tabernacle taking place.  If you try to compare the two passages you will find that the Israelites followed God's instructions to perfection.  The tabernacle was extremely important.  So important was it that the Author devoted eleven out of the forty chapters to the tabernacle, which, considering all that was covered in this book, that is quite a share.

This passage starts out in chapter 35 by a reminder (no surprise) to "Keep the Sabboth".  Notice that in verse 2 it says to keep the seventh day "holy".  Make a mental note that this word is used throughout the Scripture, and it means the same thing each time:  To set apart; to be different than all others.  The next set of verses tells that an offering was taken up.  Many times it was stressed that it was to be given willingly and of a free will.  Also, as a part of giving an offering, all skilled laborers were asked to donate their skills in building the tabernacle.  All the skilled men stepped forward to build the tabernacle, its furnishings, and its utensils.  All the skilled women would spin fine linen and goat's hair {properly spun goat's hair is today called mohair, a rare and expensive fabric}.

Vs 20 says that after Moses called for the offering, all the people went back to their tents,
withdrawing from Moses.  {I wonder what went through Moses's mine when they left.  Would the people respond?  If they do respond, would they bring enough of everything to build the tabernacle in accordance with God's specifications? What if either of these answers was "No'?}  Moses didn't have to wait long for his answer:  The people brought in the materials in such numbers that Moses (in 36:6,7) had to say, "No more.  We have enough".  {I don't think any religious leader has had that problem before or since.  Ever wonder what accomplishments our churches could make if all their members tithed properly?  I have.  It's not even imaginable.}  You may have noticed in vss 27 and 28 of chapter 35 that the tribal leaders brought onyx and other precious gems, plus olive oil and incense.  These were the most valuable of all the materials brought.  This seems to suggest one of two things.  Either these leaders were a bit more wealthy, or they were expected to set an example.
This entire passage almost mirrors God's instructions to Moses about:

Gathering the materials through a free-will offering
Material specifics
Recruiting Bezalel and Oholiab
The tabernacle
The Ark
The Table
The Lampstand
The Altar of Incense
The Altar of Burnt Offering
The Basin
The Courtyard
The Priestly Garments (Ephod and Breastplate)

Also noteworthy is the fact that the lampstand alone used 75 pounds of gold.  The total weight of gold used was almost 2200 pounds, 8000 pounds of silver, and 5250 pounds of bronze.

In the latter part of chapter 39, Moses inspected all the work.  It had been done with excellence and to the proper specifications, and Moses blessed the people.  If you noticed in this chapter, Moses set everything up himself, which was a big job, but also a priviledge.

Then in the last verses in the book of Exodus, it tells how God entered the tabernacle.  His presence in the tabernacle was indicated by the cloud that settled on it.  In keeping with God's original instructions, Moses could not enter the tabernacle, only Aaron the High Priest.  From that point forward, the cloud over the tabernacle would guide Israel's travels.  When the cloud lifted off the tabernacle, the people would break camp and follow it.  When the cloud settled, they were to set up camp at that location.  So, through the cloud God would guide them three ways:  When to go,
when not to go, and what direction to go.  They might not have known exactly where they were going, but they always knew that God was with them.

Next Post:  Leviticus


  1. Did Moses ever enter the tabernacle? If not, did God give reasoning to this?

  2. There is a room in the western section of the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant is located. Only the High Priest is allowed in this section and only once a year. At this time in our studies, this would be limited to Aaron, until his replacement is named. Therefore, although Moses is a Levite, he still would not be allowed to enter this section.

  3. I guess I'm trying to figure out why Aaron and not Moses. Aaron was named high priest, but was it explained why?

  4. I don't see where the Bible states the reason specificly. I've never questioned it because I don't view the position of priest quite like I suspect that you do. The position of "High Priest" is a lofty one to say the least. But certainly not to campare with the level of authority and responsibility of that which Moses is assigned as the LEADER of the nation Israel. Moses could not fulfill the responsibilities of both leader and Priest due to the demands of each. The priest was confined to the work in the tabernacle full time, which would have been impossible for Moses to fulfill. The duties of the High Priest were very ritualistic and involved following instructions as handed down by God through Moses. Don't get the two positions confused. Moses served as the first mediator of the people to God, and the most influencial one until the arrival of Christ. Hope this helps pal.

  5. That makes a lot of sense. I see the distinction here. That's a good explanation.