Exodus 25-27

Sunday Evening Bible Study

 May 4, 1997


Moses has begun his first 40 days on the mountain to get the details of the Law and the design of the tabernacle from God.

Details like these "Household Principles - Lamentations of a mother from the book DeuteroMOMy"

Concerning Face and Hands

Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon. And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to see. Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say. Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.

Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances

Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of the bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, not against any building; nor eat sand. Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not the humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.



We've just begun the section where the design of the tabernacle is being laid out.

Exodus 25

:1-9 The offering

God gave a list of material needs for building the tabernacle, and asked that everyone who had a willing heart contribute to the construction project.

:9 after the pattern

God is going to give Moses a glimpse of something special while on the mountain, and Moses is going to be asked to make a copy of it in the building of the tabernacle.

Moses was going to build a model of heaven.

(Heb 8:5 KJV) Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.

:10-22 The Ark of the Covenant

:10 an ark of shittim wood

Here's the very center piece of the tabernacle.

An "ark" is just another fancy name for a box, a box made out of "acacia" wood, and covered with gold.

It was a box that would be built to contain the two stone tablets that God was going to write the Ten Commandments upon with His finger.

It would be placed in the inner room of the tabernacle, the second room, known as the "holy of holies". It was the only thing in the inner room.

:10 cubits

A cubit was roughly 1 1/2 feet, the distance from your elbow to the tip of your fingers.

:14 put the staves into the rings

This was how the ark was designed to be carried.

The gold covered bars would be inserted in the golden rings, and the priests were to carry it.

This little bit of knowledge will come in handy if you're reading in 2Sam.6 how the ark was being transported on an ox cart, and why Uzzah the priest was killed in the incident.

:16 put into the ark the testimony

Meaning the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments on them.

:17 a mercy seat of pure gold

This was essentially the lid to the box, but if formed a kind of chair, a throne for God.

:18 two cherubims of gold

These two angelic beings would be made to be attached to the mercy seat.

These are the same as the four "beasts" or "living beings" mentioned in Revelation 4-5, the ones with four faces, six wings, covered with eyes, and which hover around God's throne calling out "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, which was, which is, and which is to come".

:20 toward the mercy seat shall the faces

The cherubim would be looking downward at the mercy seat, facing God's throne.

:22 there I will meet with thee

This is where God would meet with Moses, at the ark, from the mercy seat.

This is the very picture we see in Revelation 4-5, Isaiah 6, and Ezekiel 1, the throne of God.


God invites you to His throne.

He wants to spend some time with you!

I believe this is what the writer to Hebrews is talking about:

(Heb 4:15-16 KJV) For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. {16} Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

:23-30 The Table of Shewbread

:23 a table of shittim wood

This gold covered table would be one of the articles placed in the "holy place", inside the first room of the tabernacle.

:30 set upon the table shewbread

Or, "the bread of the presence"

Upon this special gold covered table, there were to be twelve loaves of unleavened bread, baked fresh weekly, and placed in rows on the table.

Each week the old bread was taken out of the tabernacle, replaced by fresh bread, and the old bread was eaten by the priests.

There are different ways of looking at this table -

Some see this as a picture of a continual thank offering to God for His provision in the wilderness.

Some see it as the presence of God's people in the tabernacle, one loaf for each tribe...

Some see this as a picture of God's provision itself. God provides for our needs.

(John 6:48 KJV) I am that bread of life.

In fact, this brings up the fact that many see just about everything in the tabernacle as being a picture of Jesus.

I think there's truth to this, but don't miss the fact that Hebrews tells us that the tabernacle was a model of heaven.

I like to see it as a picture of our fellowship with God.

It represents our communing, our meeting with Him.

Matthew Henry: "In the royal palace it was fit that there should be a royal table."

Is there a table in heaven?

(Luke 22:29-30 KJV) And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; {30} That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

(Rev 3:20 KJV) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.


God invites you to dinner.

:31-40 The Golden Candlestick

:31 a candlestick of pure gold

This seven branched lamp was to be cleaned out every day, the wicks trimmed, and the lamp refilled with fresh oil, and then lit every evening, to burn all night long, giving light during the night.

What does this represent?

Again, some would say it's Jesus ("I am the Light of the World")

I think it's more proper to see the lamp as representing God's people.

Jesus told us that we were the "lights of the world" (Mat 5).

In heaven, there are seven candlesticks (Rev. 1) which are representative of the seven churches in heaven.

As lamps, we are to be filled with fresh oil (the Holy Spirit), and set on fire, to bring light in this dark world.


Turn on the light!

(1 Th 5:1-8 NLT) I really don't need to write to you about how and when all this will happen, {2} for you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. {3} When people are saying, "All is well; everything is peaceful and secure," then disaster will fall upon them as suddenly as a woman's birth pains begin when her child is about to be born. And there will be no escape. {4} But you aren't in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won't be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. {5} For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don't belong to darkness and night. {6} So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be sober. {7} Night is the time for sleep and the time when people get drunk. {8} But let us who live in the light think clearly, protected by the body armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.

:39 of a talent of pure gold

About 75 pounds of gold.


Exodus 26

:1-6 Inner Tabernacle curtains

:1 thou shalt make the tabernacle

Here we're going to get to the design of the tent itself.

It's designed a little like today's modern camping tents, in layers.

The fanciest tents ("dome tents") are made in layers, of different materials.

The inner tent is made of a light nylon, breathable, for ventilation. The roof of the inner tent is made to "breathe".

The outer covering is called a "rain fly", and is made of a heavier nylon that is water proof. The outer fly provides shade and protection from the wet.

The Tabernacle is built a little like these modern tents, in layers. Though the layers will function much like the modern "dome" tents, shade from the sun and protection from the rain, we'll see that God must have a little bit more in mind in the design of His Tent.

Summarize -

Made of fine linen, colored blue, purple, and scarlet. Decorated with designs of cherubim in the material.

Held together with loops and clasps of gold.

This layer of material was apparently draped around the boards we're going to read about next. See picture.

To get an idea of the purpose of this design, put yourself in the priest's place who would go in to minister in the tabernacle. In a sense, he is coming into a mockup, a stage scene of heaven to minister before God.

I like to think of this layer as the background of heaven. We've already seen that the tabernacle itself is to be a "mockup" of heaven, with the various pieces of furniture representing things in heaven. Then the tent surrounding these things forms the background. Note how there are "cherubim" in the curtains, giving us the picture that there are lots of angels flying around, surrounding God's throne.

:7-13 Second layer of curtains


The Tent itself

The overall size of the tabernacle would be thirty cubits long, and 10 cubits wide.

The Holy place was 20 cubits long, the Holy of Holies was 10 cubits long.

Made of rougher, courser, goats' hair, these curtains are held together with bronze clasps.

There is a practical side to this layer, protection of the inner layer.

Matthew Henry: "That the outside of the tabernacle was coarse and rough, the beauty of it was in the inner curtains. Those in whom God dwells must labor to be better than they seem to be. hypocrites put the best side outwards, like Whited sepulchres; but the king's daughter is all glorious within (Ps.45:13)...Let our adorning be that of the hidden man of the heart, which God values, 1Pet.3:4.

:14 Outer layers

:14 make a covering

These coverings are roughly equivalent to a "rain fly" on a modern dome tent.

The first layer of "covering" was made of "rams' skins dyed red.

The next layer was made of "badger skins"

We're unsure of this material, NIV says "sea cows", NAS says "porpoise skins"

Whatever they were, they apparently were skins of some type of tough leather, heavy enough to make sandals out of.

EZE 16:10 "I also clothed you with embroidered cloth, and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk.

I think the idea is to provide a protective, watertight covering over the entire tent.

:15-30 Boards and sockets

:15-16 boards for the tabernacle

These boards were better than "tent poles", they actually form a solid room inside the tabernacle.

Note: These boards are 10 cubits high.

This means that the dimensions of the Holy of Holies was 10 x 10 x 10 cubits, a perfect cube.

Sounds just like a model of the New Jerusalem!

(Rev 21:16 KJV) And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.


The boards were made of acacia ("shittim") wood, and were overlaid with gold (vs.29)

Without the boards and sockets, the tent would be very flimsy.

Matthew Henry: "God took care to have every thing strong, as well as fine, in His tabernacle. Curtains without boards would have been shaken by every wind; but it is a good thing to have the heart established with grace, which is as the boards to support the curtains of profession, which otherwise will not hold out long.

:30 according to the fashion thereof which was showed thee in the mount.

Again, Moses is instructed to closely follow all that he sees while on the mountain, because it's going to be a model of heaven.

:31-35 The inner veil

:31 thou shalt make a veil

This was a partition, dividing the Tabernacle into two areas, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies.

Look at diagram.

Daily worship took place by the priests in the Holy place as they offered incense, kept the lamps filled with oil, and changed the bread each week.

But only the High priest was allowed in the Holy of Holies, and only once a year to sprinkle blood on the mercy seat seven times to atone for the sins of the nation on the Day of Atonement.

In this Old Testament worship, it was as if man could come close to God, but not too close.

But when Jesus died on the cross, something wonderful happened.

(Mat 27:50-51 KJV) Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. {51} And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

With the veil torn in pieces, God was making a point that through the sacrifice of Jesus, man was now able to enter into the very holiest of holy places, before God's very throne itself.


The way is open.

I believe that true worship begins to happen in our heart when in the spirit, we move from the outer courts, into the holy place, as we come from the world into God's presence.

But don't just settle with getting "closer" to God, come to Him altogether, before God's very throne itself.

:36-37 The outer veil

:36 make an hanging for the door of the tent

Not only was there a veil to form a door between the two inner rooms, but there was a veil to form a doorway to the outside of the tent, from the holy place.

Only priests could come through the outer veil into the Holy Place.


Lessons in worship.

As we come to worship God in our hearts, there needs to be a separation from the "outer court". There needs to be a drawing away of ourselves from the other people.

Though other people may be present in the room, I believe there needs to be a coming away, being separate, turning your eyes to Jesus and Him alone.

In our worship at church, we need to get our eyes off of other people, off of distractions, to focus our attention on Jesus. This is going "within the veil".

What happens within the veil:

Table of Showbread - our intimate fellowship with God, He feeds our spirits. He's all we need.

Golden Lampstand - we sit in His light, we become light-bearers ourselves.

Altar of Incense - (described later) we offer up prayer, interceding for ourselves and for others.

I think that these things don't happen in our worship unless we pass that barrier, putting aside thoughts of others, entering within the veil.

Exodus 27

:1-8 The bronze altar

:1 thou shalt make an altar

There were two altars in the tabernacle, a golden one inside for the offering up of incense, and a bronze one outside, for the animal sacrifices.

This bronze altar was made of wood, and covered in bronze so it would be fire proof. Everything in the outer court was made of bronze, just as everything inside the tent was made of gold.

It had rings and staves like the other heavy pieces of furniture, so it could be carried.

It also had four "horns", one on each corner, and these horns were possibly used to bind the sacrifices to the altar.

(Psa 118:27 KJV) God is the LORD, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.

The position of the altar, right in the middle of the courtyard, between the doorway of the courtyard and the tabernacle, showed that the only way to get to God was by sacrifice.


There is no more blood sacrifice

We no longer have to bring an animal sacrifice, it's all been paid:

(Heb 9:11-12 NASB) But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; {12} and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

When you feel like you owe God something for your sin, you're wrong, it's all been paid for.

You can't "give up" something to pay for your sins, the price has been paid.

You don't need to beat yourself up.


Offer proper sacrifices

(Heb 13:15-16 KJV) By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. {16} But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

We do this with our worship.

(Rom 12:1-2 KJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Tie yourself to the altar and give yourself to God.

:9-19 The outer court

:9 the court of the tabernacle:

Surrounding the tabernacle was a kind of linen "fence" to keep all non-worshippers out and to keep them from seeing in without coming in themselves.

It was 100 cubits long, and 50 cubits wide.

It made a kind barrier, a kind of separation from the place of worship and the rest of the "world".

It's kind of like when we come to church, and take a step away from the world, a step toward the Lord.

:20-21 Oil for the lamp

:20 bring thee pure oil

The people were to supply oil for the lamp that burned inside the tabernacle.

Note that the lamp was only lit from evening until morning.

The priests were to keep the light burning through the long dark night.

We too are to keep our lights burning in the dark world around us.