Vv 3-8: Were these "spoils" from Egypt? And so the tabernacle
of Israel was built with materials from the Gentiles.
SEA COWS: Heb "tachashim". Translated, variously, "sea
cows" (NIV; WEB); "dugongs" (mg); "porpoises" (NASB); "seals" (JPS); or
"badgers" (KJV; Roth). The general scholarly consensus on the word is that it is
Egyptian in origin. The Arabic word "duhas" refers to a dolphin. They are common
in the Red Sea; their skins are used for clothing by the Bedouin. The word has
also been connected to an Egyptian word for "leather" (BDB). This is followed by
NRSV and NET ("fine leather").
OLIVE OIL FOR THE LIGHT: It was not every oil that
might be used in the Lord's service; neither the petroleum which exudes so
plentifully from the earth, nor the produce of fishes, nor that extracted from
nuts would be accepted; one oil only was selected, and that the best olive oil.
Pretended grace from natural goodness, fancied grace from priestly hands, or
imaginary grace from outward ceremonies will never serve the true saint of God;
he knows that the Lord would not be pleased with rivers of such oil. He goes to
the olive-press of Gethsemane, and draws his supplies from him who was crushed
therein. The oil of gospel grace is pure and free from lees and dregs, and hence
the light which is fed thereon is clear and bright. Our churches are the
Saviour's golden candelabra, and if they are to be lights in this dark world,
they must have much holy oil" (CHS).
AND I WILL DWELL AMONG THEM: The antitype, Christ,
"tabernacled among men" (Joh 1:14), to reveal God's glory.
The instructions (which follow) start with the central piece
in the tabernacle and work their way outward. This order focuses on the purpose
for which the tabernacle was made -- it was derived from God, and starts with
His presence in the midst of Israel, and then radiates outward.
"Reading through the instructions for making the tabernacle it
is interesting to note that God begins giving his instructions at the centre of
the tabernacle and gradually works outwards.
"At the very centre is the Ark and the atonement cover -- the
place that God would meet with his people. In the same way that the Ark, the
most precious piece of furniture, was at the centre of the tabernacle, so we
need to keep our God at the very centre of our lives and let his influence
spread outwards from us.
"The table is the next to be described. It was used to hold
the bread of the presence. It held twelve loaves of bread - one for each tribe.
Jesus said, 'I am the bread of life' (John 6:35). He came for us so that if we
believe in him we would never be hungry. God has provided Jesus as our bread.
And just as there was one loaf of bread for each tribe, so there is enough bread
for each of us.
"Jesus also said, 'I am the light of the world' (John 8:12).
In the same way as the lampstand gave light to those near God in the tabernacle,
so Jesus is our light to show us the way to God.
Access to God, the bread of life and the light of the world
are all thing that God supplies for us -- things we need to have life. But there
is one item of furniture missing -- the altar of incense which represents our
prayers to our God. It is missing here because we are being taught that God
provides for us to come to him, but prayer is what we give to God.
"What amazing grace he gives us in opening the way for us to
come to him" (RP).
What happened to ark? 2Ma 2:4,5 says Jeremiah hid it in a cave
on Mt Nebo. In Christ's time the most holy place was empty.
The ark contained 3 items: (1) golden pot of manna (Exo
16:33,34) (Christ as bread of life: Joh 6); (2) Aaron's rod that budded (Num 17)
(sym divine selection, authority, resurrection); and (3) tables of covenant
(here; Exo 40:20) (divine law). See Heb 9:4n.
ATONEMENT COVER OF PURE GOLD: Sym faith (Rom 3:25n).
Christ the "covering" for sins (Rom 4:7; Gal 3:26-28). A man of faith, shaped by
trials, beaten into shape by God.
CHERUBIM OF GOLD: Their faces looked upon the
blood-sprinkled mercy seat (cp 1Pe 1:12). Ref multitudinous Christ (cp Eze 1:10
with Rev 4:7; 5:9,10), when in glory united with Christ. In them God's glory
shines forth (Psa 80:1; Rom 5:2).
Their faces looked upon the blood-sprinkled mercy seat (cp 1Pe
1:12). Lesson: we must look toward Christ.
Ark of testimony: also called: "ark of covenant" (Num 10:33);
"ark of God" (1Sa 3:3); "ark of Lord God" (1Ki 2:26); "ark of Lord of all earth"
(Jos 3:13); "the holy ark" (2Ch 35:3); "the ark of thy strength" (Psa
THERE... I WILL MEET WITH YOU: Did Moses go into the
Most Holy? Prob yes (Num 17:4).
BETWEEN THE TWO CHERUBIM: Cp cherubim of Gen
The table for the shewbread, or "bread of the Presence" (Lev
24:5-9; 21:6). Typ our memorial table (Act 2:42).
A RIM: A horizontal strip running around all 4 sides.
This held the silver trumpets with which to assemble the people (Num
FOR THE POURING OUT: The table held cups for wine, as
well as plates for bread (Lev 24; Num 28:7).
BREAD OF THE PRESENCE: "Bread of the faces". Called
also "perpetual bread" (Num 4:7).
HAMMER IT OUT... OF ONE PIECE WITH IT: Not joined
together at seams, or melted, but rather one continuous undivided unity, shaped
by affliction. "Hammered" or "beaten" (AV): Christ (Isa 53:5,10), his saints
(Lev 2:1,14; 24:2; Exo 29:40; 37:7; Gal 2:20; Phi 3:10). "Of one piece", ie "One
BRANCHES... ALMOND (v 33): Repr an almond tree! The tree of
life (Gen 3:24; Num 17:8). The 7 ecclesias are a tree of life, because they
offer Christ to world (Pro 15:4; 11:30; Psa 1:3; Rev 22:1,2; cp sym: Rev 1:13).
Also, a symbolic representation of the burning bush!
ON THE LAMPSTAND: That is, on the one central
The earthly: a shadow of the heavenly. The natural: a shadow
of the spiritual. "According to the true tabernacle": Heb 8:5; 9:23,24. "An
artist, in drawing a pattern for some fabric or utensil, will supply a style of
ornamentation that is harmonious throughout, whether simple or elaborate; and so
an architect, working out a plan for a building, will observe the same style of
architecture down to the minutest details, where an uncultured mind would either
omit all correspondence or introduce incongruous features. It is certainly an
added beauty to the work of God among men that its opening personal incidents
should bear a general resemblance to its final developments on a larger scale --
and so be a sort of prophecy -- which enabled Paul to say 'which things are an
allegory'. Whatever we may think of it, there the fact undoubtedly is; and it
would be a pity to make the mistake of those who stoutly shut their eyes and
maintain there are no types and shadows connected either with the history or the
institutions of Israel under Moses" (LM 105).