AN EXPOSITION OF EXODUS 25:1-9
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
Moses is instructed to invite, but not force, or compel, the people to bring their gifts for the construction and service of the sanctuary, and for the dresses of the priests. The principle behind this is simple. What is not freely given, is not worth having.
A person who demands love from another person does not understand love. A person who insists on being respected will not really receive it, though there might be some outward conformity to what is considered appropriate behavior. But honor and esteem cannot be demanded. They can only be received based on authentic merit.
In the matter of worship, the Lord wants His people to freely honor Him because He has so generously blessed them.
The Lord had blessed His people with miracles. He had shown Himself mighty on their behalf throughout the land of Egypt.
The Lord had blessed His people with freedom. After 400 years of slavery the Hebrew people were set free.
The Lord had blessed His people with financial resources. While leaving Egypt, they were given gifts of gold and silver. “Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.” (Ex. 11:2-3)
“And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment.” (Ex. 12:35)
Another source of wealth for the Hebrew people after the Exodus from Egypt was by spoiling the Amalekites. (Ex. 17:8-13) Great wealth was taken from the enemies of Israel.
With their great wealth, the Exodus Generation had a chance to use a portion of their financial resources to build a sanctuary for the Lord where the people would meet often with Him.
Of course the Old Testament saints were familiar with the omnipresence of God. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 138:7-10)
The saints of all ages understand that no building, and no square foot of land, can contain the omnipresence of God.
Nevertheless, the saints have always had places to meet with the Lord, just like Christians today have local Church buildings in which to congregate and worship. So the Exodus Generation was to build a Tabernacle.
3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,
The resources that were to be used in constructing the Tabernacle and the robes of the priests were to be gathered according to Divine design.
It was not the least of the people’s resources that was to be given, but the best. Gold and silver and brass was to be collected, along with dyed wool, fine linen made of flax, oil, spices, and precious stones.
4 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,
5 And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood,
Skins tanned and colored like the leather now known as red morocco were to be collected, along with a leather of a sky-blue color formed from the skins of the tachash, a general name for marine animals of uncertain origin. Goatskins have been suggested (RSV), porpoise hide (NEB), or hides of sea cows (NIV).
The reference to shittim wood is identified with the Acacia seyal, a gnarled and thorny tree. “It flourishes in the driest situations, and is scattered more or less numerously over the Sinaitic Peninsula. It appears to be the only good wood produced in the wilderness.
No other kind of wood was employed in the tabernacle or its furniture. In the construction of the temple cedar and fir took its place (1 Kings 5:8; 6:18; 2 Chron. 2:8). (Barnes’ Notes)
6 Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
7 Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
The reference to a sanctuary is a reference to a hallowed place. A hallowed place is anywhere the presence is experienced.
The purpose of the sanctuary was so that God may dwell among His people. A. W. Tozer wrote in one his books that man is still the dwelling place of God. “DEEP INSIDE EVERY MAN there is a private sanctum where dwells the mysterious essence of his being. This far-in reality is that in the man which is what it is of itself without reference to any other part of the man’s complex nature. It is the man’s “I Am,” a gift from the I AM who created him.
The I AM which is God is underived and self-existent; the “I Am” which is man is derived from God and dependent every moment upon His creative fiat for its continued existence. One is the Creator, high over all, ancient of days, dwelling in light unapproachable. The other is a creature and, though privileged beyond all others, is still but a creature, a pensioner on God’s bounty and a suppliant before His throne.
The deep-in human entity of which we speak is called in the Scriptures the spirit of man. “For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:11) .
As God’s self-knowledge lies in the eternal Spirit, so man’s self-knowledge is by his own spirit, and his knowledge of God is by the direct impression of the Spirit of God upon the spirit of man.”
9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
Once the raw material was gathered the Lord Himself would be the architect of the project. “I will shew thee.”
The word architect literally means “Chief-builder.” The architect is the person who is ultimately responsible for the design and construction of the building. And so it is that the Lord is the Chief Architect of the Tabernacle.
To insure the Tabernacle would be constructed according to divine design, the LORD appointed specific induvials to do the work. Anyone else who dared to work on the Tabernacle without Divine permission would be subject to discipline. The names of the special workmen are given in Exodus 31.
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
4 To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
5 And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.
6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;
By constructing the sanctuary for the Lord, some important spiritual lessons are to be remembered. I call them to your attention.
First, the Tabernacle was given to a people chosen of God. “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” (Deut. 7:6)
Second, the Tabernacle was given to a blood bought people. “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 12:13)
“Christ our Redeemer died on the cross,
Died for the sinner, paid all his due;
All who receive Him need never fear,
Yes, He will pass, will pass over you.
When I see the blood, When I see the blood,
When I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.”
Chiefest of sinners Jesus can save,
As He has promised, so will He do;
O sinner, hear Him, trust in His word,
Then He will pass, will pass over you.
Judgment is coming, all will be there,
Who have rejected, who have refused;
O sinner, hasten, let Jesus in,
Then God will pass, will pass over you.
O what compassion, O boundless love,
Jesus hath power, Jesus is true;
All who believe are safe from the storm,
O, He will pass, will pass over you.
John G. Foote
Third, the Tabernacle was given to a people redeemed by power, who could sing the song of redemption. “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea…Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.” (Ex. 15:1, 13)
“I will sing of my Redeemer
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.
Sing, O sing of my Redeemer,
With His blood He purchased me;
On the cross He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt and made me free.
I will tell the wondrous story,
How my lost estate to save,
In His boundless love and mercy,
He the ransom freely gave.
I will praise my dear Redeemer,
His triumphant power I’ll tell,
How the victory He giveth
Over sin and death and hell.
I will sing of my Redeemer
And His heav’nly love to me;
He from death to life hath brought me,
Son of God with Him to be.”
Philip P. Bliss
Fourth, the Tabernacle was given for definite reasons.
The Tabernacle was given because of God’s desire to dwell in the midst of His people. “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” (Ex. 25:8)
The Tabernacle was given to teach people of the exceeding sinfulness of man, and how sin alienates individuals from God.
There is Imputed sin. When Adam sinned, the entire race sinned in him. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom. 5:12)
There is the Sin Nature. Man is a sinner by nature. His natural inherited inclination is to sinful behavior, and so he is therefore under God’s judgment (Romans 3:9-12; Romans 6:16-19; Romans 7:14-20; Ephesians 2:3; James 1:14-15).
Personal sin. Not only is man, by nature, inclined to evil, he willingly embraces that which he knows to be wrong (Romans 3:13-18; Ephesians 2:1, 3, 5; Romans 4:7; 1 John 1:9).
The Tabernacle was given to teach people the way of grace. Grace comes through the sacrificial work of another. Grace comes to find a way for man to be reconciled to God. Grace finds a way to remove the barrier between God and man.
The Tabernacle was given to teach people of the holiness of God, reflected in the Holy of Holies.
Fifth, the Tabernacle was supported by the free will offering of the people of God. “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.” (Ex. 25:2)
The Tabernacle was built by those who were wise of heart, individuals such as Bezaleel. “See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,” (Ex. 31:2)
Seventh, the Tabernacle was built by individuals who were under spiritual authority. There was the authority of Bezaleel, then Moses, and ultimately that of God.
Eighth, the Tabernacle was completed in nine months, but in those months time had been redeemed.
The main singular application I would exhort you to make is to study the Tabernacle, for in such a study are many spiritual lessons to learn.
However, the lessons of the Tabernacle can only be enjoyed through prayerful and careful study of the Scriptures.
Be sure to look for Christ in every article associated with the Tabernacle, and you will find Him.
Meet with Christ at the Brazen Altar, for Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Go with Christ to the Laver for He is our sanctification. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Cor. 1:30)
Sup with Christ at the Table of shewbread for Christ is our manna from heaven. John 6: 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
See by the light of the golden candlestick for it speaks of Christ the light of the world. John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Follow Christ to the Altar of Incense, and hear Him make intercession for us. Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Move with Christ through the veil, which was torn in two at Calvary for the veil speaks of His body broken for us. Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
Kneel with Christ in worship before the Ark of the Covenant. Remember that inside the Ark of the Covenant are the Broken Tablets of the Law but also the token of God’s mercy and grace in the buds on Aaron’s rod. Out of death comes life. 1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Look at the mercy seat and never forget that where sin abounds grace does much more abound. The mercy seat speaks of Christ and the mercy which can be found at the Cross.
“Come, ev’ry soul by sin oppressed
There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest
By trusting in His Word.
Only trust Him, only trust Him,
Only trust Him now;
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you now.
For Jesus shed His precious blood,
Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood
That washes white as snow.
Yes, Jesus is the Truth, the Way,
That leads you into rest;
Believe in Him without delay
And you are fully blest.”
John Hart Stockton
I commend for your diligent study, The Tabernacle. I believe it will be a blessing for you on earth and will prepare your heart to know more about your heavenly home.