Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Exo 26
The tabernacle built in the days of Moses was the center of
divine worship in Israel. It was a figure for the time then present, indicating
that the gifts and sacrifices being offered at that time -- while good and
righteous and from God -- were not yet the perfect sacrifice, which was yet to
come (Heb 9:9).
Nevertheless, that tabernacle was glorious: its plans were
divinely revealed, its workmen specially endowed, and all its materials were
brought "out of Egypt". It was built, as God told Moses, on the "patterns of
things in the heavens" (Heb 9:23). As there was an earthly tabernacle, so there
had been before -- and still is -- a heavenly tabernacle.
The heavenly sanctuary pictured in the Apocalypse, or
Revelation, contains cherubim, a seven-branched lampstand, officiating priests
(the angels), and the overshadowing glory of God (Rev 4:5,7,10). This is the
model upon which the Almighty works.
The Apostle John (who received the visions of the Apocalypse)
might have seen from Patmos, looking eastward, a tabernacle pattern written
large on the earth:
Directly in front of him, he would have seen Jerusalem, with its most holy
place, where dwelt the glory of God;
To his left, looking north, he would
have seen the seven ecclesias of Asia Minor, corresponding to the seven-branched
lampstand [in the Old Testament, north and south are left and right respectively
-- with orientation toward the rising sun being assumed];
To his right,
looking south, there was Egypt, the "breadbasket" of the ancient world,
reminding him of the special shewbread in the tabernacle;
Patmos, there was the Mediterranean Sea, symbolizing the laver, or "sea of
All around were the prayers of the saints, arising like incense
from the altar of burnt incense (cp Rev 5:8; 8:3,4; Psa 141:2); and
him was Greece and Rome and the rest of Europe: all the "court of the
The whole tabernacle was erected on bare ground, that is, the
"dust of the earth". In figurative terms, it was to be built upon the foundation
of humanity, and God Himself was to dwell among men, and be glorified in their
Thus the tabernacle foreshadowed God manifestation, in three
justification, or mental [lampstand = light; laver = baptism, and the word
sanctification, or moral [shewbread, memorial table; incense =
glorification, or physical [the most holy place, with the glory
Reading 2 - Psa 80:1
"Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a
flock; you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth" (Psa
This verse, and this psalm, has a unique New Testament
There is first of all a picture of national devastation (vv
The tribulation is an expression of God's anger against His
people (vv 4-6).
There are indications of a helpless repentance on the part
of Israel ("Turn us again" in vv 3,7,19; and also v 18).
The key to all
hopes of national redemption for Israel is: (1) "The lamb in the midst of the
throne" (cp v 1 here) who will be the "Shepherd" of his people (Rev 7:17); (2)
"the true vine" (John 15:1) to replace the discarded vine of Israel (Eze 15:6);
(3) "the Son of Man whom God has made strong for Himself."
terms, so fitting with reference to the Messiah: "the Man of thy right hand (cp
Psa 110:1), the son of man (cp Psa 8:4,5) whom thou madest strong for thyself."
Compare 2Co 5:19; 1Ti 3:16.
The situation envisioned in this psalm may begin to
materialize very soon. It may be expected that Israel will face a great threat
in the near future, one which she cannot avoid either by negotiation or by armed
resistance. Once it is realized that the only true help must come from God, and
from the Son whom their forefathers crucified -- then Israel's realization of
her own helplessness, followed by her repentance, will bring, very quickly, the
manifestation of Messiah in glory.
Reading 3 - Mark 11:13,14
"Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find
out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves,
because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, 'May no one
ever eat fruit from you again.' And his disciples heard him say it" (Mar
"In some sheltered spot by the roadside a fig tree attracted
the attention of Jesus, as it must have drawn the wondering eyes of many
travellers on their way to the Passover. At that time of the year fig trees were
normally without either fruit or leaves. The sight suited his purpose well for
it presented him with the opportunity of giving a practical illustration of the
parable of the barren fig tree, and of completing a picture which had been left
in abeyance. The time of figs was not yet; they appeared before the leaves. Here
was a fig tree which made great boast of itself, challenging those who passed by
to behold from the richness of its foliage, the succulence of its fruit. Yet,
accepting the invitation, the hungry wayfarer was doomed to disappointment, for
in spite of its lofty pretensions this tree was no better than the other trees.
Its fault lay not so much in its barrenness as in its empty promises. No more
penetrating picture of Israel can be imaged than that afforded by this sheltered
tree with its abundance of green leaves stirring gently in the morning air. Nor
can we confine the picture to natural Israel. It must ever be a challenge to
Israel after the spirit also. The richness of the promise must be supported by
the abundance of the fruit" (Melva Purkis, "A Life of Jesus" 298).