Sunday, November 11, 2007

Exodus 35-36

Exodus 35

(1) Then Moses *called together the whole
**community of Israel and told them, “These are the instructions the Lord
has commanded you to follow.

*called together: Hebrew Qahal.
It is frequently used throughout the Hebrew Bible as a noun for the “assembly”
of Israel, referring to the entire people of Israel - the people of God.
When the “Old Testament” was translated into Greek via the
Septuagint, the Hebrew word Qahal was rendered by the Greek word ekklesia, rarely translated into English
as “assembly” but was rather rendered as “church”.

**community: The Hebrew word translated as “community
is the word eidah. When this word was translated into Greek it was represented
by the word sunagogay.

(2) You have six days each week for your ordinary * work, but the seventh day must be a
Sabbath day of complete rest
, a holy day dedicated to the Lord. Anyone who works on that day must be put to death.

* work: The Hebrew word for forbidden work is melacha. The rabbis of the Talmud counted 39 categories of forbidden work.

(3) You must not even* light a fire in
any of your homes on the Sabbath.” Offerings for the Tabernacle

* light a fire: Kindling a fire receives special attention
here because the people thought that kindling a fire was not work, but
only a preparation for some kind of work. The Law makes sure that this
too was not done. The debate by some "observant" Jews is whether this includes the gas furnace which "lights" itself! On one site, I read, When my father was growing up, he was paid by an orthodox Jewish family to light the lamps and stoke the furnace on the Sabbath. In fact, you might want to glance through the 551 page "Concise Code of Jewish Law" Volume 2 by Rabbi Gersion Appel, which is previewed by Google Books at,M1. There you'll find thousands of rulings. For example, you can use a soft brush to comb your hair on the Sabbath, but not a hard brush because you might remove some hairs and that would constitute "shearing" which is not allowed on the Sabbath! No wonder Jesus was so upset with the Pharisees when He said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath..

   This was a strict call to obedience. Before they did
the work of building the tabernacle, God first called Israel to the work
of simple obedience. Basic obedience is a pre-requisite for doing work
for the Lord.

Numbers 15:32-36: One day while the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they discovered a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. The people who found him doing this took him before Moses, Aaron, and the rest of the community. They held him in custody because they did not know what to do with him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must be put to death! The whole community must stone him outside the camp.” So the whole community took the man outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Colossians 2:16-17: So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.

Galatians 3:24: Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith.

Romans 3:20: For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

(4) Then Moses said to the whole community
of Israel, “This is what the Lord has commanded:

   Now it was time to do what God originally commanded
Moses in Exodus 25-31 regarding the building of the tabernacle and its
associated items.

(5) Take a sacred offering for the Lord. Let those with generous hearts present the following
gifts to the Lord:
gold, silver, and bronze;

(6) blue, purple, and scarlet thread;
fine linen and goat hair for cloth;

(7) tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather;
acacia wood;

(8) olive oil for the lamps;
spices for the anointing oil and the fragrant incense;

(9) onyx stones, and other gemstones to be set in the ephod and the priest’s chestpiece.

(10) “Come, all of you who are gifted craftsmen. Construct everything that the Lord has commanded:

(11) the Tabernacle and its sacred tent, its covering, clasps, frames, crossbars, posts, and bases;

(12) the Ark and its carrying poles; the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement;
the inner curtain to shield the Ark;

(13) the table, its carrying poles, and
all its utensils; the Bread of the Presence;

(14) for light, the lampstand, its accessories, the lamp cups, and the olive oil for lighting;

(15) the incense altar and its carrying poles;
the anointing oil and fragrant incense;
the curtain for the entrance of the Tabernacle;

(16) the altar of burnt offering;
the bronze grating of the altar and its carrying poles and utensils;
the washbasin with its stand;

(17) the curtains for the walls of the courtyard;
the posts and their bases;
the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard;

(18) the tent pegs of the Tabernacle and courtyard and their ropes;

(19) the beautifully stitched garments for the priests to wear while ministering
in the Holy Place—the sacred garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments for his sons to wear as they minister as priests.”

(20) So the whole community of Israel
left Moses and returned to their tents.

   Moses wasn't into "high-pressure" giving
where people were asked to make quick, public decisions about giving,
or asked to make an immediate pledge. There was no manipulation at all
in Moses' request. Moses didn't have contests pitting one tribe against
another, to see which tribe could raise the most money, or any other such
nonsense. God did the work in the hearts of the people.

(21) All whose hearts were stirred and
whose spirits were moved
came and brought their sacred offerings to the
Lord. They brought all the materials needed for the Tabernacle, for the
performance of its rituals, and for the sacred garments.

2 Corinthians 8:3-5: For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

(22) Both men and women came, all whose
hearts were willing.
They brought to the Lord their offerings of gold—brooches,
earrings, rings from their fingers, and necklaces. They presented gold
objects of every kind as a special offering to the Lord.

(23) All those who owned the following items willingly brought them: blue, purple, and
scarlet thread; fine linen and goat hair for cloth; and tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather.

(24) And all who had silver and bronze objects gave them as a sacred offering to the Lord.
And those who had acacia wood brought it for use in the project.

(25) All the women who were skilled in sewing and spinning prepared blue, purple, and scarlet
thread, and fine linen cloth.

(26) All the women who were willing used their skills to spin the goat hair into yarn.

(27) The leaders brought onyx stones and the special gemstones to be set in the ephod and
the priest’s chestpiece.

(28) They also brought spices and olive oil for the light, the anointing oil, and the
fragrant incense.

(29) So the people of Israel—every man and woman who was eager to help in the work the Lord had
given them through Moses—brought their gifts and gave them freely to the Lord.

(30) Then Moses told the people of Israel, “The Lord has specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri,
grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.

(31)The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts.

(32) He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze.

(33) He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood.
He is a master at every craft.

(34) And the Lord has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan,
the ability to teach their skills to others.

(35) The Lord has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue,
purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsmen and as designers.

Exodus 36

(1)“The Lord has gifted Bezalel, Oholiab, and the other skilled craftsmen with wisdom and ability to perform any task involved in building the sanctuary. Let them construct and furnish the Tabernacle, just as the Lord has commanded.”

(2) So Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and all the others who were specially gifted by the Lord and were *eager to get to work.

*eager: This isn't just a "job" to them - they're thrilled to be part of God's work!

(3) Moses gave them the materials donated by the people of Israel as sacred offerings for the completion of the sanctuary. But the people continued to bring additional gifts each morning.

(4) Finally the craftsmen who were working on the sanctuary left their work.

(5) They went to Moses and reported, “The people have given more than enough materials to complete the job the Lord has commanded us to do!”

(6) So Moses gave the command, and this message was sent throughout the camp: “Men and women, don’t prepare any more gifts for the sanctuary. We have enough!” So the people stopped bringing their sacred offerings.

   Any surplus could only have been used for personal gain by Moses or the other elders, and Moses distanced himself from such an accusation.

(7) Their contributions were more than enough to complete the whole project.

Roughly a ton of gold, four tons of silver, and three tons of bronze.

   They didn't respond out of guilt or duty; they responded out of love -- love for the Lord, who had loved them so. They respond freely and eagerly. The New Testament also speaks of people who were touched by the grace of God and gave extravagantly (Matthew 26:7, Philippians 4:14-19).

   A First Century woman, most likely a prostitute, whose name we do not know, was an extravagant follower. In appreciation of Jesus, she fell at Jesus' feet, wetting them with her tears, wiping them with her hair, kissing them with her lips and anointing them with expensive perfume (Luke 7:36-50). This was an extremely expressive, humble and expensive display of the customary habits of hospitality. What caused this extravagant response? Jesus says to Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7:47: I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Her love for Jesus didn't earn her forgiveness; rather, her love followed from her forgiveness. She was extravagant because she understood that Jesus forgave her -- even her, a prostitute, the lowest of the low. It was God's grace that motivated her overwhelming response to the Lord, just as it is God's grace that motivates the Israelites overwhelming response to the Lord.

- Responding to Grace:

Building the Tabernacle

(8) The skilled craftsmen made ten curtains of finely woven linen for the Tabernacle. Then Bezalel decorated the curtains with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim.

   The Cherubim embroidered covering also formed the ceiling of the Tabernacle, looking up from inside the Sanctuary. Exodus 26:1-6.

   The Cherubim are there reminding us, perhaps, of two things: (1) the Cherubim were placed at the east of Eden "to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24). To 'keep' in Hebrew means to observe, keep watch over, preventing Adam and Eve from returning to partake of the tree of life; here in the Tabernacle, the Cherubim are over-seeing what goes on inside the Sanctuary; (2) the Cherubim are among those in heaven who bow the knee to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ (Philippians 2:10; Revelation 5:11-14), so He is truly Head over all things to the Church. John, one of the disciples closest to Jesus, declares "We beheld His glory, glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:17). As we progress closer and closer to the presence of God in the Tabernacle, we too need to behold His glory, setting our minds on the things which are above where Christ is, not on the things that are on the earth (Colossians 3:1-2), and realize that what we can see is but a small part of the whole.

(9) All ten curtains were exactly the same size—42 feet long and 6 feet wide.

(10) Five of these curtains were joined together to make one long curtain, and the other five were joined to make a second long curtain.

(11) He made fifty loops of blue yarn and put them along the edge of the last curtain in each set.

(12) The fifty loops along the edge of one curtain matched the fifty loops along the edge of the other curtain.

(13) Then he made fifty gold clasps and fastened the long curtains together with the clasps. In this way, the *Tabernacle was made of one continuous piece.

*Tabernacle: Hebrew mishkan = dwelling place indicating that it contains the Shekinah glory.

(14) He made eleven curtains of goat-hair cloth to serve as a tent covering for the Tabernacle.

Exodus 26:7-13. This was one of four layers that covered the tabernacle. The Bible doesn't give a color but one author noted that hair of goats from Cashmere and from Angora goats was woven. Both are white. White means purity.

(15) These eleven curtains were all exactly the same size—45 feet long and 6 feet wide.

(16) Bezalel joined five of these curtains together to make one long curtain, and the other six were joined to make a second long curtain.

(17) He made fifty loops for the edge of each large curtain.

(18) He also made fifty bronze clasps to fasten the long curtains together. In this way, the tent covering was made of one continuous piece.

(19) He completed the tent covering with a layer of tanned ram skins and a layer of fine goatskin leather.

Exodus 26:14

(20) For the framework of the Tabernacle, Bezalel constructed frames of acacia wood.

Exodus 26:15-30

(21) Each frame was 15 feet high and 27 inches wide,

(22) with two pegs under each frame. All the frames were identical.

(23) He made twenty of these frames to support the curtains on the south side of the Tabernacle.

(24) He also made forty silver bases—two bases under each frame, with the pegs fitting securely into the bases.

(25) For the north side of the Tabernacle, he made another twenty frames,

(26) with their forty silver bases, two bases under each frame.

(27) He made six frames for the rear—the west side of the Tabernacle—

(28) along with two additional frames to reinforce the rear corners of the Tabernacle.

(29) These corner frames were matched at the bottom and firmly attached at the top with a single ring, forming a single corner unit. Both of these corner units were made the same way.

(30) So there were eight frames at the rear of the Tabernacle, set in sixteen silver bases—two bases under each frame.

(31) Then he made crossbars of acacia wood to link the frames, five crossbars for the north side of the Tabernacle

(32) and five for the south side. He also made five crossbars for the rear of the Tabernacle, which faced west.

(33) He made the middle crossbar to attach halfway up the frames; it ran all the way from one end of the Tabernacle to the other.

(34) He overlaid the frames with gold and made gold rings to hold the crossbars. Then he overlaid the crossbars with gold as well.

(35) For the inside of the Tabernacle, Bezalel made a special curtain of finely woven linen. He decorated it with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim.

Exodus 26:31-33, 36-37

(36) For the curtain, he made four posts of acacia wood and four gold hooks. He overlaid the posts with gold and set them in four silver bases.

(37) Then he made another curtain for the entrance to the sacred *tent. He made it of finely woven linen and embroidered it with exquisite designs using blue, purple, and scarlet thread.

*tent: Hebrew obel = tent. Translated tabernacle in the KJV.

(38) This curtain was hung on gold hooks attached to five posts. The posts with their *decorated tops and hooks were overlaid with gold, and the five bases were cast from bronze.

   The lampstand alone was about 75 pounds. Furthermore, the Israelites would need to carry the tabernacle with them, albeit in a broken-down form, when they traveled. In other words, they were carrying seven metric tons of equipment with them on their journeys. Assuming the average horse can carry approximately 200 pounds -- a number, I hasten to add, that I found by only cursory research -- the Israelites would need at least 75 horses to carry the equipment for the tabernacle.

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