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Explore the Bible Series
May 9, 2010
Background Passage: Exodus 35:1-40:38
Lesson Passage: Exodus 35:4-9, 30-36:1; 40:12-15
The Book of Exodus closes with an account of
This section, for instance, gives invaluable insight into
the nature of Christian living.† The Book
of Exodus honestly reflects the terrible failures of the Hebrews as they
emerged from Egyptian slavery: unbelief, impatience, sexual misconduct,
complaining, and idolatry.† Yet, at this
point, we observe the careful obedience of the Lordís people.† They contributed generously to the tabernacle
project, and the nationís craftsmen followed the Lordís directions carefully.† Remaining sin wars against the souls of Godís
people, and, all fail, at times, to live according to the perfect precepts of
God.† Nevertheless, failing people may,
with the help of grace, do wonderful things that bring lasting glory to God and
help to others.† This detailed
Exodus 35:1-35 clearly describes the source of
This enlightening section also outlines the role women played in the construction of the tabernacle.† I believe this chapter contains the first reference to women serving the interests of the tabernacle, and their inclusion seems noteworthy.† Women, in the ancient Middle Eastern world, were relegated to the periphery of social life, but, in this case, Moses included the gifts of self-giving women.† I pastored southern Baptist churches for over thirty years, and experience teaches me the precious contributions made by women, faithful servants of Christ.
These chapters outline the special gifts afforded to the craftsmen who constructed the tabernacle.† These gifts clearly came from the gracious hand of God, and the workers used their God-given abilities to advance the Kingdom.† Exodus 36:1f describe these gifts as ďskillĒ and ďintelligence.Ē† Every child of God must take inventory of his/ her special aptitude and use that talent as God intends.†
As stated earlier, this section rehearses much of the material from Exodus 25-32, and I have copied my comments from the previous lesson for your review.† Also, I have added some observations that may prove helpful.
I. The Tabernacle and Its Furnishings (25:1-27:21)
for Building the Tabernacle (25:1-9): The Book of Exodus provides extraordinary
instructions for erecting the tabernacle, instructions that occur in Chapters
25-31, and then appear again, almost word for word, in Chapters 35-40.† The elaborate materials used in the
construction, no doubt, came from the treasures bequeathed to
Ark of the Covenant (25:10-22): Jehovah instructed Moses to construct an
Table of the Bread of Presence (25:23-30): The Table of Bread, like the
Lampstand (25:31-40 and 27:20-21): The craftsmen used about seventy-five pounds
of gold to make the Lampstand.† According
to the instructions, the menorah had a central shaft flanked by three branches
on each side.† It seems that the Lord
intended for the Lampstand to appear in the likeness of an almond tree.† Pure, beaten olive oil provided the fuel for
the lighting of the Lampstand. This furnishing stood adjacent from the Table of
Bread, in the
Tent of Meeting (26:1-37): The Tabernacle itself conveyed Godís presence with his
people; yet, this divine presence did not foster irreverent familiarity. The
people could approach Jehovah, but only on terms that he prescribed.† Ten curtains comprised the exterior of the
tent, each made of the finest materials.†
A goat hair covering sheltered the exterior of the tent.† An acacia wood frame, overlaid with gold,
served as the ďskeletonĒ of the Tabernacle. Thick veils, made of fine wool and
linen (made from flax, common and highly valued in
Bronze Altar (27:1-8): The altar of sacrifice rested outside the
G. The Court of the Tabernacle (27: 9-19): A large, enclosed court surrounded the Tabernacle, a court marked by finely made linen curtains supported by a superstructure constructed of bronze pillars and silver bindings.
The Aaronic Priesthood (28:1-29:46): The priests served
essential functions in
A. The Priestly Garments (28:1-43)
ephod (28:1-14): After a brief introductory statement, the author of Exodus
described the ephod, a woolen and linen garment worn by the High Priest.† Two shoulder straps supported the garment,
and two onyx stones, engraved with the tribal names of
breastpiece of judgment (28:15-30): This garment, studded with gold and
precious stones, contained twelve stones engraved with the names of the tribes
3. The robe of the ephod (28:31-35): This outer garment covered the ephod and breastpiece.† The tailors, at Godís direction, affixed golden bells to the garment so the people could discern the movements of the High Priest as he ministered in the Tabernacle.†
4. The turban and coat of the High Priest (28:1-39): A plate of pure gold, denoting the holiness of the Lord, was affixed to the priestís turban, and a linen coat and sash completed the priestís attire.
5. The garments of regular priests (28:40-43): Chapter 28 concludes with a brief description of the garments worn by priests other than Aaron.† It appears that these clothes were not as elaborate as those of the High Priest.
B. The ordination of the priests (29:1-46): This chapter provides expansive details about the ordination of priests.† In the future, priests ordained new men to this ministry, but, since, no priesthood existed at Sinai, Moses consecrated these men.† The text describes a series of sacrifices and rites that attended this initial ordination. The rites were to be repeated for seven days.† Verses 38-46 outline the morning and evening sacrifices that punctuated the daily activities of the priests.
III. Additional Instructions for Worship in the Tabernacle (30:1-31:18)
A. The Alter of Incense (30:1-10): This altar, made of acacia wood and gold, held a fragrant incense that burned day and night.† Many Bible scholars have interpreted the symbolism as referring to the constant intercession of the Lord Jesus on behalf of his people.
B. The census tax (30:11-16): The Hebrews, from time to time, took a census of the people, and each census was accompanied by a ransom of a half shekel.† The money from the census went to the financial support of the Tabernacle.
C. The Bronze Basin (30:17-21): The Laver served as a reminder of the importance of moral purity in the worship of Jehovah.† The priests, as they approached their responsibilities, were required to wash their hands and feet as a symbol of ceremonial purity.
D. The anointing oil and incense (30:22-38): God commanded Moses to make anointing oil from fragrant resins to consecrate the articles in the Tabernacle and the priests.† The Law forbids ordinary people from using this anointing oil.† Also, the Lord prescribed a ďrecipeĒ for the incense used in the Holy Place (vv. 34-38). Again, ordinary people were not allowed to use this incense.
E. The consecration of craftsmen (31:1-11): the Lord left little to the imagination of the Israelites; indeed, God specially equipped even the craftsmen for constructing the Tabernacle and its furnishings, Oholiab and Bezalel.†
F. The observance of the Sabbath (31:12-18): The Sabbath served as a token of the covenant, and God warned the Jews to keep the Sabbath holy as witness to future generations.† This section concludes with the claim that God wrote these commandments, on the stone tablets, with his own finger.