Friday, March 30, 2012

Keeping the Sabbath

Exodus 31-12-18

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.” (Exodus 31:12-13)

Keeping the Sabbath was a sign of Israel’s commitment to God.  It would serve as reminder to them that they were God’s people and that it was God that made them holy and fitted to be in his presence from generation to generation.   Hebrews 10:24-25 Church attendance has a similar effect on the Christian, reminding him of his relationship with God.  Hebrews 10:24-25 instructs, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  While church attendance, like keeping the Sabbath, can become mere ritual, it will still remind us of our relationship to God if there is any teaching of God’s word involved.

“Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.  Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 31:14-15)

The Sabbath was to be a day wholly devoted to the Lord.  It was not to be devoted to daily chores like other days.  Even gathering the manna for food was forbidden.  Any one who broke the Sabbath was to be executed.  Nevertheless, Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man’s benefit, not man for keeping the Sabbath.  Later we find that the need to water the livestock or rescue an animal were excluded from that death penalty.  They were to avoid nonessential work on the Sabbath so they could be free to focus on God.

“Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.  It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:16-17)

Observance of the Sabbath was to be a permanent contract or covenant between God and Israel.  It was not part of  the covenant with Abraham, nor is it part of the contract with the Christian.  When the Apostles stated what was required for Christians in Acts 15:19-29, keeping the Sabbath was not included as a requirement.  Though Paul frequently preached in the synagogues on the Sabbath, or Saturday, the Christians met on Sunday, the first day of the week.  Taking time to go to church reminds us of God’s claim on our life and demonstrates our recognition of that claim, just as observing the Sabbath did for Israel.

“And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” (Exodus 31:18)

Both papyrus, or paper and parchment or animal skin decay, and most inks fade.  God wrote the terms of his contract with Israel in stone so they would not fade and be forgotten, and he wrote it out himself so there would be no question as to their source.  Later, Moses destroyed even those stone tablets.  The covenant with the church was not written on stone tablets but in the Christian’s heart, according to II Corinthians 3:3.  “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Builders

Exodus 31:1-11

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.” (Exodus 31:1-5) 

God specifically called Bezaleel to the work of constructing the Tabernacle.  He filled him with the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, to guide him in understanding how to do each of the different things.  Most of the time we think only of Moses or the priests as having been called by God, but God has a particular calling for each person, and the Holy Spirit equips them for that calling.  One of the most serious failings of the modern church is the failure to recognize that our occupation should be itself a ministry using the gifts God has given us for his glory.  People who are not going into church work are left with the impression it really doesn’t matter what they do, with the result the focus is on the level of remuneration, rather than on what God has called them to do.  How many have been pressured to go into the ministry when God called them to some other work?

“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; The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle, And the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense,  And the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot, And the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office, And the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.” (Exodus 31:6-11) 

Not only had God called Bezaleel as the manager, but he had chosen Aholiab as construction supervisor and various others as foremen and given them special areas of expertise.  Bezaleel could not do the entire project himself, but was dependent on others to do their part.  In the church, the individual members are just as important as the pastor, even though they may not get as much recognition.  I Corinthians 12 describes much the same situation in the church.

"But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.  For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 

For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where were the body?  But now are they many members, yet but one body.  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 

For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” (I Corinthians 12:11-25)

We have failed our young people in not encouraging them to find the career God has called them to because we considered only a few occupations relevant.  There ought be no schism or differentiation between occupations in the church, any more than there should be between races.  Galatians 3:28 says that in in Christ, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Each is of equal importance.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Anointing Oil

Exodus 30:22-33

“Moreover the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.” (Exodus 30:22-25) 

The anointing oil was a thick ointment made up of four ground spices mixed with olive oil in a very precise formula, similar to what a chemist or druggist would produce.  When ground together and mixed with a gallon and half of olive oil, it would make a large quantity of fairly stiff sweet smelling lotion.  

“And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.  And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.  And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.” (Exodus 30:26-30) 

The anointing oil was to be rubbed or poured on every thing used in the worship of God, from the Tabernacle itself, to the ash pans for the brazen altar.  It was also to be placed  on the priests.  Without the anointing oil they were not acceptable, but the oil sanctified them as well as whatever they touched.

The oil portrays the Holy Spirit.  I John 2:27 refers to the Christian's being anointed.  “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”  John 14:27 makes it clear this anointing is with the Holy Spirit.  “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

It was the anointing oil that sanctified the priests.  Romans 8:8-9 makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is essential in our day.  “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”  It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us, according to I Corinthians 6:11.  “… but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."

Not only does He sanctify the believer, but he also sanctifies whatever the believer touches.  It is why the Christian is not forced to leave an unsaved mate as some have taught, according to I Corinthians 7:12-14.  “…If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.  And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”  They are not sanctified themselves, but only by their connection to the believer.  Each person gives account for himself before the Lord, so they will not be saved by the association as some would like to believe.  Romans 14:12 states, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

“And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.  Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.  Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.” (Exodus 30:31-33) 

Just as the oil could not be placed on anyone except the priests, the Holy Spirit cannot be received by unbelievers, according to John 14:16-17.  “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”

Attempts to copy the anointing oil or to misuse it was to result in being dis-fellowshipped. Mark 13:22-23 warns, “For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.  But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.”  We are not to fall for the fakery.  I Corinthians 12-14 is devoted to this subject.

I Corinthians 14:20 instructs, “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.”  It is pretty arrogant to think we have the right to make up our own rules.  I Corinthians 14:36-38 addresses the attitude.  “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?  If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.  But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.”  Genuinely spiritual people will recognize the importance of the real thing and avoid psychological manipulation and tricks.  Anyone who doesn’t is to be ignored as not knowing what he is talking about.

The Incense
Exodus 30:34-38

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight: And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.” (Exodus 30:34-36)

The incense, or perfume as it is called here was composed of equal parts of four spices.  They were to be ground together as a druggist or chemist would mix them.  Some of it was to be ground extra fine for placing on or around the ark of the testimony.

“And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the LORD.  Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.” (Exodus 30:37-38)

Like the anointing oil, the incense was holy and no other could be burned on the altar of incense.  It was not to be used for any other purpose, nor was anything similar to be produced for any purpose.  Doing so was grounds for exclusion from the Congregation of Israel.  Our worship ought be decidedly different than what the world does.  Often, one could not distinguish between the response to “Christian” music at a religious meeting and the response to a song about illicit sex at a rock or country music concert, and sometimes can hardly tell the difference between the music itself.  I wonder how God feels about our efforts to reach the world?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Atonement Money

Exodus 30:11-16

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.  This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. 

Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.  The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.” (Exodus 30:11-15)

When a census was taken, every man above twenty years old was to give a half shekel of silver.  A shekel is about a half ounce so they were to give about a quarter of an ounce or at current prices, about eight dollars each.  It was an amount anyone could get, and everyone paid at the same rate.  It was given as a token to rmind them that Their souls and lives had been ransomed and atonement made for their sins.   Failure to give it exposed them to the risk of plagues among them.

Whether we were the worst person alive, or the best, our salvation still required the life of the Son of God.  It is provided on such terms that anyone who will can receive it, but refusal to do so exposes us to eternal judgment.

“And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.” (Exodus 30:16)

Any building or structure requires maintenance, and I am amazed how often government entities commit to a construction with no plan as to how it is to be supported or maintained.  The atonement money was to be used to maintain the Tabernacle, so that it would serve as a memorial to Israel.

The Brazen Laver
Exodus 30:17-21

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. There was to be a brass wash basin

For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the LORD: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.” (Exodus 30:17-21) 

Even though he had been sanctified, and was serving in the tabernacle, the priest would get dirty handling the ashes and bodies of the sacrifices.  That dirt would make him unfit for service.  A brass lavatory or wash basin was provided so they could wash before going into the Tabernacle or offering other sacrifices.  Failure to do so might well result in their death.

Though he has been saved, the Christian is affected by sin today.  It is crucial that he regularly wash it away in the blood of Christ to maintain his relationship with Christ.  The sin doesn’t cause him to be unsanctified, just contaminated, but it may make him fruitless and effectively dead to Christ.  It is simply a matter of confessing it to God as described in I John 1:9.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Altar Of Incense

Exodus 30:1-10

“And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it.  A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same.  And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about.

And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal.  And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.” (Exodus 30:1-5)

The  altar of incense seems to have been a simple accacia wood box eighteen inches square and three feet tall, with a horn like projection at each corner.  It was overlaid with gold, like the other furniture for inside the tabernacle, with a gold rim to keep things from falling off.  Like the other items of furniture it was equipped with poles for carrying, also gilded and attached with gold rings at each corner.

“And thou shalt put it before the veil that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.  And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.  And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.” (Exodus 30:6-8) 

Revelation 8:3-4 makes it very clear the incense relates to our prayers.  “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.”  The other furniture in the Holy place was entirely about what christ does for us, but the altar of incense is about uor worship and prayer lives, which is why it is described here rather than with the other furniture.

Placed before the veil, directly ahead as one entered the Tabernacle, the altar of incense portrayed prayer as the way to reach out to God for the believer priests daily.  The was made of wood representing Christ’s humanity and gold representing his deity.  The Christian’s prayer is to be based on the authority from Jesus Christ.  John 14:13-14 promises, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”

Access to the altar of incense required that one be a priest, a believer and  that one be inside the boundaries of righteousness as pictured by the courtyard fence.  As David warned in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:”  Finally, he had to enter the Holy place, where everything was about God, rather than self.  I John 5:14-15 states, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

The incense was to be offered every morning and evening while they were in the Holy place.  Philippians  4:6 commands, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”  Christians ought to be in a constant attitude of prayer about everything, as I Thessalonians 5:17 directs.  “Pray without ceasing.”

“Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.  And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.” (Exodus 30:9-10)

Even conscientious prayer and worship gets contaminated with sin and needs to be purged periodically, and an atonement for the altar was needed annually.  I Thessalonians 5:21instructs us to test everything and keep only the good.  “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Cain offered his own idea of worship rather than what God specified and his sacrifice was not accepted in Genesis 4.  God specified that only what he prescribed was acceptable in worship and prayer.  Nothing else was to be offered.  He gives some specific things in the New testament that are not to be offered,

Specific guidelines were given as to prayer for example.  Matthew 6:5-6 commands, “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”  Prayer to impress people with our spirituality is not acceptable.

Prayer is to be personal, and repeating what someone else has said doesn’t qualify.  Even “praying the scripture” moves it from a personal prayer to ritual.  Matthew 6:7 commands, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”  God is a loving father, and desires to hear what his children think rather than someone else’s viewpoint.  He already knows what David or the other writers thought.

Prayers based on or mixed with bitterness, anger or disrespect are not acceptable.  Matthew 11:25-26 warns, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.  But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”  I Peter 3:7 continues in the same vein.  “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”  Paul said, “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting,” in I Timothy 2:8.

These restrictions about prayer are just a few of the things about worship, but like Cain, people tend to decide to do it their way, and get upset that others are blessed for doing it God’s way.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Consecrating the Altar

Exodus 29:36-37

"And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.  Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy.” (Exodus 29:36-37) 

In Exodus 20:25, God commanded, “And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.”  Man’s effort to modify the shapes of the stones from the state God had made it would pollute it.  It was only acceptable as God had made it.  The brazen altar was completely shaped by man’s efforts.  It could only be made acceptable by the cleansing power of the blood, even though it was made according to God’s instructions.

Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” in John 3:6.  If something originated with or was produced by the flesh it is still flesh, no matter how we may try to spiritualize it.  Only as it is changed and empowered by the spirit does it have spiritual power, as John 6:63 tells us.  “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”  The nature of anything’s power depends on the spirit empowering it.  To glorify God and accomplish it’s purpose, the brazen altar had to be cleansed of every human influence.  When it was empowered by God it affected everyone that came in contact with it.

The Daily Sacrifices
Exodus 29:38-46

“Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually.  The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering.  And the other lamb thou shalt offer at even, and shalt do thereto according to the meat offering of the morning, and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.” (Exodus 29:38-41)

Every morning and every evening they were to offer a lamb to god, accompanied by an offering of flour mingled with oil and a measure of wine as a drink offering .  It was a sweet savour offering, denoting a sharing with God of what he had provided and, in effect, thanking him.  As such the entire offering was to be burned on the altar.

“This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.  And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.  And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office.  And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.  And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God." (Exodus 29:42-46)

This sacrifice was to be offered to God as long as there was a nation of Israel.  In return God would communicate with them freely, guiding and living among them and would sanctify their religion and priests, demonstrating his power among them.  Once again we see the importance of regular communion and obedience if we are to have a satisfactory relationship with God.

Though they were still observing this command in Jesus’ day, it had become merely a ritual, something they did habitually, whether to make themselves feel good or to impress others, with no real thought of it‘s meaning, and were no longer aware of God’s power among them.  Unfortunately, too often our prayers and devotions and Christian service also become mere ritual or show.  The spirit producing them is no l

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Ram Of Consecration

Exodus 29:19-35

“And thou shalt take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram. Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about. 

And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him.” (Exodus 29:19-21)

Not only did the priests identify with the Ram of consecration, but they were Identified with it by having some the blood placed on their ear, thumb and right toe indicating that the entire body was given to the Lord.  That is what should be expected for every Christian  I Thessalonians 5:23 promises, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration: And one loaf of bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the LORD: And thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shalt wave them for a wave offering before the LORD. 

And thou shalt receive them of their hands, and burn them upon the altar for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour before the LORD: it is an offering made by fire unto the LORD.” (Exodus 29:22-25)

Only part of this ram and one loaf of bread, one cake and one wafer were to be burned from this offering, after being waved before the Lord.

It was the power of God that makes us  priests and what we offer to him is the result of his work in us according to Ephesians 2:8-10.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” 

Since it is all the result of God working in us rather than our own efforts paul stressed the need to give God the glory rather than building our own reputation in II Corinthians 10:12-18

“And thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron's consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before the LORD: and it shall be thy part.  And thou shalt sanctify the breast of the wave offering, and the shoulder of the heave offering, which is waved, and which is heaved up, of the ram of the consecration, even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons: And it shall be Aaron's and his sons' by a statute for ever from the children of Israel: for it is an heave offering: and it shall be an heave offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifice of their peace offerings, even their heave offering unto the LORD.” (Exodus 29:26-28)

The breast of the ram was to be presented to the Lord as a wave offering, and the left shoulder as a heave offering.  In doing so they were consecrated to God, but they were to be given to the priests.  These same parts were to be given from all the peace offerings.  Again, The picture relates to the Christian, that while he has given his life to the Lord, he has received life as well.  II Corinthians 4:11 declares, “For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”  As Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”  

Not only did the priests receive the rest of the meat they also received the rest of the unleavened bread, cakes and wafers.  As II Peter 1:3 describes,  “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue,” God has given everything we need to live the Christian life.  As we will see later, different parts of different sacrifices were to be given to the priests.

“And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons' after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them.  And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on seven days, when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister in the holy place.” (Exodus 29:29-30)

The priesthood was to be an ongoing thing passed from generation to generation.   There was to be no substituting newer more modern garments.  The priest was to be on duty a week at a time.

“And thou shalt take the ram of the consecration, and seethe his flesh in the holy place.  And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy.  And if ought of the flesh of the consecrations, or of the bread, remain unto the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy.  And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them.” (Exodus 29:31-35)

The sacrifice was to be boiled and eaten by the door of the Tabernacle.  It was consecrated to God and was not to shared with those who were not also holy.  Leftovers were to be destroyed, preventing spoilage or being eaten by those who were not holy.  As Matthew 7:6 advises, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Instructions For Consecrating The Priests

Exodus 29:1-25

“And this is the thing that thou shalt do unto them to hallow them, to minister unto me in the priest's office: Take one young bullock, and two rams without blemish, And unleavened bread, and cakes unleavened tempered with oil, and wafers unleavened anointed with oil: of wheaten flour shalt thou make them.  And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring them in the basket, with the bullock and the two rams.” (Exodus 29:1-3)

Sanctification or consecration of the priests would demand the sacrifice of a young bull and two rams.  They had to be among the best of the flock, without scars, malformations or even off color markings.  In addition, they were to bring regular wheat bread like what they usually ate except unleavened, unleavened cakes made of wheat flour and olive oil, and thin cracker or tortilla like wafers with oil spread on them.  The lack of blemishes and leavening portray Christ as the sinless sacrifice I Peter 2:21-22 declares him to be.  “… Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:”

“And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.  And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre.  Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. 

And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them.  And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.” (Exodus 29:4-9)

The consecration of the priests illustrates what God does for the Christian at salvation.  The first step in sanctification was the cleansing.  I John 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  It is an unwillingness to admit they need cleansing that prevents many people from being saved.

Once they were cleansed they were dressed in the priestly garments. When he accepts Christ, the believer receives his priestly garments.  Revelation 7:13-14 describes what John was told.  “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  Romans 3:22 says it is received by faith.  “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”  The priestly garments would be theirs for a perpetual statute and would never be taken away.

“And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock.  And thou shalt kill the bullock before the LORD, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar.  And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar.  But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering.” (Exodus 29:10-14) 

The priests were to place their hands on the bullocks head, identifying him as their sacrifice before he was killed.  His blood was then to be placed on the horns of the brazen  altar of judgment and poured at it’s base as payment for the sin.   All the intestinal fat, the spleen, and the kidneys were to burned on the altar, but the remainder of the bullock was to be burned outside the camp because it was a sin offering.  Under the law, the sacrifices could only postpone judgment.

Burning the body outside the camp showed that sin had to be dealt with beyond the limits of the law.  Hebrews 13:10-13 refers to this necessity.  “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.  For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.  Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.  Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.”  Galatians 3:11-13 makes it very clear.  “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.  And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”  It is what the entire book of Galatians is about.

“Thou shalt also take one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram.  And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar.  And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him, and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head.  And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the LORD: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the LORD.” (Exodus 29:15-18) 

This ram was an offering or gift to God, not an a way of dealing with sin.   It illustrates the principle of Romans 6, yielding our lives to Christ rather than keeping it for ourselves.   Just as they did with the sin offering, they had to personally lay their hands on the sacrifice, identifying with it personally.  While salvation is offered to all the world it still must be accepted individually.  Our relationship with Christ after salvation is also a personal matter, not a corporate one.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Ordinary Priest’s Garments

Exodus 28:40-43

“And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.” (Exodus 28:40) 

The priests could only come from Aaron‘s sons.  No other family or tribe would be accepted as priests.  Each priest was to have a coat similar to the white on white coat Aaron received.  A belt was made to hold the coat closed, and a cap was to be on their heads.  Like the high priest’s garments, these were to emphasize the authority and beauty of God.  They would have much the same impact on people as a doctor’s lab coat does today.

“And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.” (Exodus 28:41)

Before a doctor or nurse is allowed to participate in a surgical operation, they have to put on a surgical gown and cap, wash their hands in an approved manner and put on surgical gloves, to minimize the risk of infecting the patient.  The priests had to go through a similar process before they could perform their priestly duties. Without it, the sacrifices they offered would be contaminated.

“And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.” (Exodus 28:42-43)

Each priest was also to have a set of underwear, or shorts to prevent exposing themselves in a way that would detract from the worship of God.  Just as a doctor can be punished or lose his license for not following the required procedure, priests who ignored the requirements would be held accountable, even to the point of death.  These verses have frequently been distorted to try to prove it is wrong for a woman to wear trousers.  These breeches were not normal outer wear.

While the high priest portrays Christ, the other priests portray all Christians.   In fact I Peter 2:9 tells us, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”  As such, we have a similar responsibility to represent God in a manner that does not detract from his glory.  Sadly, many become focused solely on the outward actions and neglect the far more important spiritual aspect, like the Pharisees in Matthew 23:25-26, who were more concerned witht eh appearance than the reality.  “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.”  No amount of external scrubbing will clean the heart, and if it is not clean, the person isn‘t.

The analogy goes a lot farther, however.  Just as the priests were children of Aaron, we are children of God as Romans 8:16 states.  “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”  Just as the priests had to be washed and sanctified the Christian is washed and sanctified according to I Corinthians 6:11.  “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

The priests were wore a white coat or robe to do their duties.  Revelation 7:9-10 describes the Christians wearing white robes.  “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”  The church or assembly of believers were dressed in the white robes because they had been cleansed according to Revelation 19:8. "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

The priests were free to go in and out the gate just as Jesus described Christians in John 10:9.  “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”  The same wall of righteousness that kept the rest of the world out protected the priests from the influences of the outside world when they were inside serving God.  As priests they also had access to the tabernacle itself.  Hebrews 4:16 tells us we have the same right of access.  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” 

A failure to enter the presence of God and enjoy what he offered was the priest’s decision, not God’s.  The priests in the Tabernacle are a tremendous illustration of the Christian’s life, just as it was intended to be.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Priests

Exodus 28:1-39

“And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons.” (Exodus 28:1) 

God specifically ordained Aaron and his family to be the priests, with Aaron as the high priest.  The term ordain simply means to select or choose.  The importance of the High priest’s job is described in Hebrews 5:1-4.  “For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.  And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.  And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”

The high priest was in much the same position as a trainer in a large company.  He has to be skilled in doing the job himself so he can teach others how.  To be effective, he needs to be able to work with the beginner’s mistakes without getting frustrated, showing them repeatedly what is needed.  At the same time he needs to be fully cognizant of company policies, as the company’s representative at that point.  He serves as the trainee’s contact with management.  It is too important a job to leave open for whoever wants it.

There was only one high priest at any time, and God chose Christ to be the high priest forever according to Hebrews 5:5-6.  “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.   As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”  No one else can ever receive that authority, although many claim it.

The High Priest’s Garments

“And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.  And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.” (Exodus 28:2-3) 

They were to make sacred or sanctified garments for Aaron to emphasize his position and to be beautiful as the representative of God.  They were to consecrate or pronounce him to be clean before God, to qualify him to do the priest’s job.  God had already given specific people the skills and understanding that would be needed to make them.  All Moses needed to do was describe what was to be made.  The garments again portray various aspects of what Christ does and has done for us.  The design was important to properly represent those things.

“And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.” (Exodus 28:4)

While there were to be holy garments for all the priests, the high priest’s were much different than the other priest’s.

The Ephod
Exodus 28:5-14

“And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.  And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.” (Exodus 28:5-6)

The selection of materials for the ephod again portray Christ as God with the gold, as righteous with the white linen, as royal with the purple, as of heavenly origin with the blue and as the sacrifice for sin with the scarlet.  The fabric design seems to have been quite intricate.

“It shall have the two shoulder pieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.  And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.” (Exodus 28:7-8) 

The ephod was to be a sort of tunic, fastened together at the shoulders and held around the waist by a fabric belt with the same design.

“And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.  With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold.  And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the LORD upon his two shoulders for a memorial.” (Exodus 28:9-12)

Two onyx stones were engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel to be set in gold brooches or similar settings.  These would be placed where the shoulders were joined as a memorial to the children of Israel identifying the wearer as representing all the tribes of Israel.  It portrays Christ as representing the whole world.

“And thou shalt make ouches of gold; And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches.” (Exodus  28:13-14)

Gold chains were to be attached to the brooches to support the breastplate.  These chains were to have a floral motif, resembling a wreath.

The Breastplate
Exodus 28:15-27

“And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.  Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.” (Exodus 28:15-16)

The foundation for the breastplate was to be a piece of cloth with the same design as that used for the ephod that when folded in half would provide a square about eight or nine inches on each side.

“And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.  And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.  And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.  And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their enclosings.  And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.” (Exodus 28:17-21) 

Twelve gold settings for stones were to be made, and attached to the breastplate in four rows.  Each setting was to hold a precious or semi precious jewel stone engraved with the name of a single tribe of Israel.

“And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold.  And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.  And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.   And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod before it.” (Exodus 28:22-25) 

Two rings of gold were to be fastened to the corners of the breastplate so they held it in the folded position.  They were to be fastened to the ends of the chains attached to the two brooches on the ephod.  The Hebrew way of explaining things causes a bit of duplication that seems a little confusing at first.

“And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.  And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.  And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.” (Exodus 28:26-28)

Two gold rings were to be attached to the back piece of the breastplate at the ends.  Additional rings were to be attached to the ephod above the belt and a blue cord or lace was to be provided to tie the rings together and prevent the breastplate from flopping around.

“And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually.” (Exodus 28:29) 

While the onyx shoulder brooches portrayed Christ as representing all mankind collectively, the settings on the breastplate portray him as representing them as individuals.  I John 2:2 describes him as doing both. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

“And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually.” (Exodus 28:30)

Folded like it was, the breastplate formed a pocket or pouch.  It was the breastplate of judgment and the Urim and Thummim were to be placed in it.  We know that Urim means lights and Thummim means perfections.  They represented the standard of judgment God expects and Christ fulfilled for us.  While we are not sure what the Urim and Thummim were, they are believed to have been some kind of natural crystals.

The Robe
Exodus 28:31-35

“And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.  And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.” (Exodus 28:31-32) 

The robe was a full length blue slip on robe.  The edges of the neck hole were to be bound  with a ribbon or tape bias tape to prevent unraveling, some what like the neck opening on tee shirt.

“And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.  And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not.” (Exodus 28:33-35)

Around the hem of the high priest’s robe there were small balls of red blue and purple material alternated with little golden bells, probably similar to harness bells.  Without his robe when he went into the Holy of Holies, the high priest would be killed.  Jesus Described the need for the spiritual robe of righteousness in Matthew 22:11-14.  “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The Outer Garments
Exodus 28:36-39

“And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.  And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.  And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.” (Exodus 28:36-38)

A golden plate inscribed with the words, “Holiness to the Lord”  was to be made and attached to the priest’s turban with a blue cord or lace.  Without it, the offerings the priest made would be unacceptable.  Responsibility for unforgiven sin would fall on the priest if he was not properly prepared.

“And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.” (Exodus 28:39)

An over coat embroidered with white on white designs and the turban were to be made for the high priest.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Courtyard

The Sacrificial Altar
Exodus 27:1-8

“And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits.  And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass.” (Exodus 27:1-2) 

The Altar was to be a wooden box seven and a half feet square and four and a half feet high.  There were to be horns at each corner and the entire box was to be overlain with sheets of brass to protect it from the heat and elements.   There was no top or bottom.

“And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basins, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans: all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass.” (Exodus 27:3)

Since the altar was to be used for burning sacrifices, various pokers and hooks would be needed to stir the fire and arrange the meat.  In addition shovels and ash buckets would be needed for removal of ashes and containers for carrying the meat and blood were needed.  All these objects were to be made of brass.

“And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brazen rings in the four corners thereof.  And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar.” (Exodus 27:4-5)

A grate of interwoven brass rods was to be made and suspended with brass rings half way down inside the altar to support and facilitate burning the sacrifice.  There should never be any contact of flame with the altar, and with the wood protected by brass plates, charring would be minimized.  

“And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass.  And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it.  Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was showed thee in the mount, so shall they make it.” (Exodus 27”6-8)

Like the Ark of the Covenant,  the Brazen Altar was to have poles for carrying held in rings on each side.  The poles were to be overlaid with brass , and go through brass rings.  The hollow design would be relatively easy to transport.

The altar represents Christ satisfying the judgment for our sin by meeting the penalty of death.

The Courtyard Fencing
Exodus 27:9-15

“And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long for one side: And the twenty pillars thereof and their twenty sockets shall be of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver.  And likewise for the north side in length there shall be hangings of an hundred cubits long, and his twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver.” (Exodus 27:9-11) 

An area around the Tabernacle was to be enclosed with a linen fence.  The north and south sides were to be a hundred fifty feet long each.  They were to be hung on brass poles supported with brass sockets or bases.  Silver hooks with enlarged areas for attaching them and anchor ropes were to be applied to the brass poles.  The enlarged fillets would provide sufficient area for silver soldering the hooks on.   Twenty poles on each side would space them about seven and a half feet apart.

“And for the breadth of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits: their pillars ten, and their sockets ten.  And the breadth of the court on the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits.” (Exodus 27:12-13) 

The west wall or fence was to be seventy five feet long. And supported on ten posts at the same spacing as the north and south sides.  The east side was to be the same size but it would hold an opening or gate.

“The hangings of one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three.  And on the other side shall be hangings fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three.” (Exodus 27:14-15) 

The east or front wall was to have a short section about twenty two and a half feet long on each side of the opening.  There were to be three poles on each side to support them.  This would leave an opening about thirty feet wide.

The white linen of the fence again represents the righteousness which one must attain to please God.  Supported by judgment it serves to shut out those who do not qualify, and to keep those in who do.

The Gate
Exodus 27:16

“And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four.” (Exodus 27:16) 

A thirty foot long piece similar to the door of the Tabernacle was to be woven and embroidered for the gate of the courtyard.  It was to be hung on four pillars with brass bases.  The gate represents Christ just as the door does.

Courtyard Accessories
Exodus 27:17-19

“All the pillars round about the court shall be filleted with silver; their hooks shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass.  The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass.” (Exodus 27:17-18)

When set up the fence was to be straight and square.   It was not to be adjusted to fit around some obstacle.  Being seven and a half feet tall it would provide a lot of privacy and serve as a wind break.

“All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass.” (Exodus 27:19)

All the tent pegs and vessels used outside the Tabernacle were to be made of brass, again representing judgment.

Oil For The Lamp
Exodus 27:20-21

“And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.  In the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.” (Exodus 27:20-21)

Pure olive oil was to be provided and the lamps refilled so there would be light in the Tabernacle at all times.  They were never to permit all the lamps to go out at once.  It was the priest’s job to keep them filled.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Veil

Exodus 26:31-33

“And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made: And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver.  And thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.” (Exodus 26:31-33)

The word translated veil means a separation or a divider.   It was curtain which divided the tabernacle into two separate rooms, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies.  It was woven on the same pattern or a very similar one to what was used in making the inner covering of the tabernacle.

Four posts or pillars were to be made to support it.  They were to be placed under the joint between the two separate tarps to support the roof as well.  By making them slightly longer than the boards of the wall, they would also raise the roof enough to cause water to drain off and reduce the tendency for the roof to pull the walls in.  The pillars were to be placed on silver sockets similar to what supported the wall, overlain with gold and supplied with gold hooks to support the veil.

Again the wood of the pillars represents Christ’s humanity, the gold his deity and the silver his purity.  Revelation 19:8 tells us “for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”  The blue depicts his heavenly nature, the purple his royalty, and the scarlet his sacrifice.  The only way into the Holy of Holies was through the veil, figuratively through Christ, and only the high priest was permitted to pass through the veil and only on the Day of Atonement.

When Solomon built the Temple, it was modeled on the Tabernacle but somewhat more involved.  Later Esra rebuilt the temple using the same design again and it was rebuilt again in Herod’s day.  The veil dividing the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies was utilized each time.  Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45 all record that the veil was rent when Christ was crucified.  Hebrews 9:7-8 explains it’s importance.  “But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:”.

By keeping the Law, the people could postpone sentencing for their sin, but never eliminate it.  When Christ died, he removed the sin and opened the door for everyone to come directly to the throne of God.  Both the Old Testament saints and we are saved by faith in his sacrifice for us.  They just had to wait until he came to receive it.  The tearing of the veil portrays that Salvation was now accessible to everyone.  The Jews promptly sewed it back together.

Furniture Arrangement
Exodus 26:34-35

“And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.  And thou shalt set the table without the veil, and the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side.” (Exodus 26:34-35) 

The Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy seat on it was to be placed as the only piece of furniture in the Holy of Holies.   With the mercy seat representing the Judgment throne of God, the Holy of Holies represents heaven.

The Holy Place or front room represents the place called “Abrahams bosom” in Luke 16:22, the place where the saints waited until Christ was crucified.  I don’t want to trivialize it, yet in some ways, it was almost like a waiting room, with buffet table to provide food for those who waited.  When Christ tore the veil away, there was no longer a need for the waiting room.

The Table of Show bread was to be placed on the right or north side of the Tabernacle as you entered with the Golden Candle stick on the left or South side.  Straight ahead was the Altar of Incense, which will be described later, just in front of the veil.

The Door
Exodus 26:36-37

“And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework.  And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them.” (Exodus 26:36-37)

The doorway of the tabernacle was to be covered with a linen curtain or tapestry similar to the veil, but no description of the pattern is given.  It was to be embellished with embroidery or needle work.  Five pillars were to be made to support the door hanging and front edge of the Tabernacle.  By making them slightly higher than the walls, they would provide additional drainage.  These pillars were to be covered with gold, with gold hooks, but the sockets the set in were to be of brass rather than silver.

In John 10:9, Jesus said,  “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…”  The only entrance to the Tabernacle was through this door, and as said in John 14:6, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  Jesus is represented by the door in all the same ways the veil represented him except that the brass sockets represent judgment.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Walls and Framework

The Boards and Bases
Exodus 26:15-22

“And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood standing up.  Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall be the breadth of one board.  Two tenons shall there be in one board, set in order one against another: thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle.” (Exodus 26:15-17)

The tabernacle was to be supported by portable wooden walls made from standing dead shittim trees.  Decay organisms quickly attack down timber and the demand that it be standing timber would provide cured wood free of decay.  Each board was to be fifteen feet long, and about twenty seven inches wide, which would require huge old trees.  Each board was to have two tenons or tongues cut on one end to go into holes in the sockets that would support them.

“And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards on the south side southward.  And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons.  And for the second side of the tabernacle on the north side there shall be twenty boards: And their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.  And for the sides of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards.” (Exodus 26:18-22)

There were to be twenty standard boards each for the north and south sides of the Tabernacle.  Six standard boards were to be cut for the west end.  Two support sockets were to be made of silver for each board.  These sockets would prevent the boards from contacting or sinking into the ground and protect them from decay and insect attack.

The Corner Detail
Exodus 26:23-25

“And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides.  And they shall be coupled together beneath, and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto one ring: thus shall it be for them both; they shall be for the two corners.  And they shall be coupled together beneath, and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto one ring: thus shall it be for them both; they shall be for the two corners.  And they shall be eight boards, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.” (Exodus 26:23-25)

In addition to the forty six regular boards there were to be four corner assemblies.  Each corner would consist of two boards like the standard boards, but drilled and joined each end by a ring to serve as hinges for each corner.  Each board for the corners was to have tenons and sixteen additional sockets were to be made for the corners.  When assembled, the with the corners, the north and south walls would bee thirty three cubits long or about forty nine feet long, and the west wall would be twelve cubits, or about eighteen feet wide.  The inner covering would thus overhang about eleven feet on each of the three sides, with the goats’ hair covering hanging down about twelve or thirteen feet.

The Connecting Bars
Exodus 26:26-28

“And thou shalt make bars of shittim wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle, And five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of the tabernacle, for the two sides westward.  And the middle bar in the midst of the boards shall reach from end to end.” (Exodus 26:26-28)

Bars or beams were to be made to hold all the boards in place.  There were to be five on each side, with the middle bar reaching the full length of the wall.  With rings attached at each end and the center of the boards the bars could be shoved through the top and bottom before standing the wall up, but in sections of only about ten boards at a time. The full length center beam would maintain structural integrity.  The design would make it relatively easy to transport.

Finish And Trim  Details 
Exodus 26:29-30

“And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars: and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold.  And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was showed thee in the mount.” (Exodus 26:29-30) 

All the wooden parts were to be finished by covering them with gold leaf.  All the rings which held the bars were to made of gold.  The method of assembly was demonstrated to Moses on the mountain so he could show the others.  The gold covering and the silver sockets would prevent weathering and decay, prolonging the life of the  wood.  The use of cured wood would be critical to prevent shrinkage from dislodging the gold covering, or cracking the boards but to cut and air dry green lumber would have required at least a year and a half or two years.  Using standing dead trees would eliminate the problems.

The walls portray Christ as the basis of our entire Christian life.  Once again the wood portrays his humanity and the gold pictures his divinity.  The silver sockets portray his righteousness protecting us from contamination by the world.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Tabernacle Proper

The Tabernacle Proper

The word tabernacle means a tent.  Most of us think of a tent as a temporary living place, something insubstantial we might use for a few days on a camping trip.  We need to realize that many people used a tent as a permanent home.  The Mongol’s yurt, the American Indian’s teepee, or the Bedouin tent are just a few examples.  Today, permanent buildings using a tent like construction are being used.  While most are for storage and Garages, some have been made into office spaces or homes.  The Tabernacle would more closely resemble one of these permanent structures than the camping tents we think of.

The Coverings
The Inner Curtains
Exodus 26:1-6

“Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work shalt thou make them.  The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the curtains shall have one measure.” (Exodus 26:1-2)

This first covering was what would be seen by those who came into the Tabernacle.  In effect it would be the ceiling treatment on a modern building, something like Michelangelo’s frescos in the Sistine Chapel.  It was to be made of fine white linen with a cherubim design woven into the material using blue, purple, and scarlet.  Ten panels or curtains were to be woven measuring about six feet wide and forty two feet long.  The selection of colors portrays Christ, as we will see a little later.

“The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another. Ex 26:4 And thou shalt make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling of the second.  Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the second; that the loops may take hold one of another.  And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold, and couple the curtains together with the taches: and it shall be one tabernacle.” (Exodus 26:3-6)

The panels were to be sewn together in groups of five creating two large tarps thirty feet wide and forty two feet long.  Loops were to be attached to one long edge of each completed tarp and gold connectors were to be made to fasten them in a way that could easily be separated when they needed to move the tabernacle.   It is very similar to the way in which large modern tent coverings are made.  It allow the quick assembly while keeping the coverings to a manageable size.    It also keeps the woven pieces within practical weaving size.

This inner curtain would be placed directly over the framework, hanging almost to the ground on three sides.

The Protective Curtain
Exodus 26:7-13

“And thou shalt make curtains of goats' hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make.  The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and the eleven curtains shall be all of one measure.” (Exodus 26:7-8)

Eleven panels of goats’ hair were to be woven about three feet longer than the linen panels of the first covering.  They would serve as padding to protect the linen covering from wear by wind movement of the outer leather coverings.

“And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle.  And thou shalt make fifty loops on the edge of the one curtain that is outmost in the coupling, and fifty loops in the edge of the curtain which coupleth the second.  And thou shalt make fifty taches of brass, and put the taches into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one.” (Exodus 26:9-11)

The goats’ hair curtains were to be assembled in one group of five and one of six, forming one tarp thirty feet by forty five feet and another of thirty six feet by forty five feet.  They were to install loops like they installed on the linen curtains , but the conectors were of brass rather than gold.  The extra panel would ensure that the seams and connections were offset to prevent leaks.

“And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the backside of the tabernacle.  And a cubit on the one side, and a cubit on the other side of that which remaineth in the length of the curtains of the tent, it shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle on this side and on that side, to cover it.” (Exodus 26:12-13)

Because of the longer panels and the extra panel, the goats’ hair covering would hang over the sides and extend a cubit, or eighteen inches beyond the linen covering on all sides, reaching to about two feet above the ground and ensuring complete protection of the linen covering from the elements.  The extra material at the front of the tabernacle would be folded back above the door opening.

Design features such as the padding provided by the  Goats’ hair covering are what enabled the Tabernacle to survive six hundred years of use.

The Exposed Coverings
Exodus 26:14

“And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering above of badgers' skins.” (Exodus 26:14)

A Ram’s skins were to be dyed red and sewn together to make a covering to be placed over the goats’ hair curtain as a secondary water resistant layer.  It was probably in two or more pieces in order to reduce the weight to a manageable level.  The red ramskins represented Christ shedding his blood to cover man’s sin, but would have faded rapidly exposed to the sun.

A final covering of natural badger’s skin, believed to have been a type of antelope, protected everything.  Any joints would again have been offset from those of the rams’ skin covering to prevent leakage.

These two layers of skin would ensure that wind movement was minimal, minimizing wear and ensuring no water or dust would penetrate.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Golden Candlestick

Exodus 25:31-40

“And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.” (Exodus 25:31)

With two layers of thick cloth and two layers of leather for a covering, the tabernacle would be very dark.  A lighting system was required and God again provided to meet the need.  The menorah widely used in celebrating Jewish rituals today is loosely based on the pattern of the candlestick in an attempt to preserve as much of their tradition as possible.

“And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side: Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.” (Exodus 25:32-33)

Each of the six branches was to have three almond shaped bowls with an enlarged or knob like section with a flower design on it, and the branches were to be arranged in opposing pairs with each one connecting to the main column.

“And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.  And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick.  Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.” (Exodus 25:34-36)

The main column was to have four bowls with the enlarged sections with a flower design.  These were to be arranged so there was a bowl and the flower motif supporting each pair of branches with a single bowl and knob and flower at the top.

“And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.” (Exodus 25:37) 

There were to be seven lamps or liquid candles to sit on the terminal knobs of the candle stick. They were to be filled, cleaned and trimmed every morning, and lighted every evening so there was always light in the tabernacle.

“And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.  Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.  And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount.” (Exodus 25:38-40)

Along with the lamps, there were tongs for changing the wicks and dishes for placing the expended smoldering and oil saturated wicks in while new ones were installed.  The talent was a large measure weighing several pounds for weighing bulk gold or silver.  At different times in history the talent seems to have varied somewhat.  An entire talent was to be used in making the golden candlestick and the lamps and accessories.  Everything was to be built to the exact design God showed Moses.

The Golden Candlestick portrays Christ in several aspects, with the most obvious being as the light.  John 8:12  is one reference to him as such..  “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.”  The light was produced in individual lamps illustrating how Christ is shown to the world through the lives of individual Christians on individual branches or churches, supported and unified by the main trunk which is Christ.  Matthew 5:14-16 describes the Christian’s part.  “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  

The lamp does not produce the light, but provides a place for it to be produced.  The fire of God produces the light as we see in II Corinthians 4:6-7.  “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”  The oil, representing the Holy Spirit provides the fuel for the fire to burn.  It will be examined in greater detail later.

One of the most exciting motivational sermons I ever heard was about Christians as the wicks in the Candlestick, burning out for the Lord.  According to the speaker, they were kept and carefully preserved.  Unfortunately, the message was as unscriptural as it was exciting.  The wicks are never mentioned, although when the ten virgins trimmed their lamps in Matthew 25, they were adjusting the wicks to give more light and smoke less.  The wick only burns when it isn’t conducting enough oil to feed the flame.  Christians burn out because they are not filled with the Holy Spirit and are depending on the flesh.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Table for Showbread

Exodus 25:23-30

“Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.   And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.  And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about.” (Exodus 25:23-25) 

The next item of furniture was a small wooden table, eighteen inches wide, thirty six inches long and about twenty seven inches high.  It was to have a four inch skirt around the table top and a gold rim projecting above the table top to keep things from rolling off. The entire table was to be covered with gold leaf.

“And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof.  Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table.  And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.” (Exodus 25:26-28) 

Like the Ark, the Table of Showbread was designed to be carried from place to place.  Gold rings for poles to carry it were to be placed where the legs joined the skirt on the long sides.  The poles were also to be overlain with gold leaf.

“And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them.” (Exodus 25:29)

Solid gold utensils were to be made to be used on the Table of Showbread, including spoons, and covered plates and bowls.  The rim around the table and the covered containers were necessary because as the next verse says, there was to be showbread on the table at all times.  Without the rim it might fall of when being transported, and the covers were necessary to keep out dust and flies, and to delay drying.

“And thou shalt set upon the table showbread before me alway.” (Exodus 25:30)

The showbread was a food, or meat offering to the Lord but it was reserved for the priests to eat.  Leviticus 7:9-10 states, “And all the meat offering that is baken in the oven, and all that is dressed in the fryingpan, and in the pan, shall be the priest's that offereth it. And every meat offering, mingled with oil, and dry, shall all the sons of Aaron have, one as much as another.”  It was reserved for the priests according to Leviticus 22:10.  “There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing: a sojourner of the priest, or an hired servant, shall not eat of the holy thing.”

The construction of wood and gold again reveals Christ as both God and man, but the showbread, as food for the priests reveals him as the bread of life Jesus described in John 6:53-58.  “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  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.”  The showbread was a permanent model that continued throughout Jewish history.  The manna pictures the same thing, but it only lasted about forty years.