Devotion on Exodus, Chapter 38, 13 March 2015 Anno Domini (Year of Our Lord)
“6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)
Having been informed that no man come to God the Father but by the Son, the question that arises is this: “How do we approach the Son and come to Him?” Were it not for His redeeming sacrifice, it would not be at all possible to come to the Son, and to the Father. Our text today reinforces this fact and opens with an example thereof. The Altar of Burnt Offerings, located at the very entrance of the Tabernacle, represents that sacrifice of Jesus Christ. No man could enter the Tabernacle (the Place of God) without bringing a sacrifice. But those former sacrifices of goats, sheep, and oxen were only shadows of the Perfect Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are now privileged to enter that Tabernacle-Not-Made-With-Hands, by way of that sacrifice of Christ made on our behalf:
“8 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: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Heb 9:8-14) No mere commentary ON the Bible could speak the truth as beautifully as the Bible ITSELF, don’t you agree?
“1 And he made the altar of burnt offering of shittim wood: five cubits was the length thereof, and five cubits the breadth thereof; it was foursquare; and three cubits the height thereof. 2 And he made the horns thereof on the four corners of it; the horns thereof were of the same: and he overlaid it with brass. 3 And he made all the vessels of the altar, the pots, and the shovels, and the basons, and the fleshhooks, and the firepans: all the vessels thereof made he of brass. 4 And he made for the altar a brasen grate of network under the compass thereof beneath unto the midst of it. 5 And he cast four rings for the four ends of the grate of brass, to be places for the staves. 6 And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with brass.
No man can come to Christ without claiming that Holy Sacrifice He made for Him at the very entrance of His Holy Tabernacle. In fact, though God the Father and God the Holy Ghost are prominently represented in the Tabernacle, the whole of the Tabernacle clearly symbolizes the Lord Jesus Christ since He is One with the Father, and One with the Holy Ghost. He is our “All in All.” “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” (Col 3:11)
Jesus Christ is the Word Eternal. (John 1:1-3) The Word of God is a Mirror to our souls. Jesus Christ is the perfect image of our being; but when I look into the Word as my mirror, I see my depravity and sin in Adam, in David (the murderer and adulterer), in faint-hearted Peter on the night of his denial, and in doubting Thomas. I am also the central figure of the woman at Jacob’s Well and that one Woman who committed adultery and, yet, found Grace in the eyes of the Lord. He is the perfect Plumb Line to whom we look, and the Ensign of the Battlefield of Life around which we rally. We cannot help seeing our total lack reflected in His perfect righteousness when we read the Holy Bible. So we must come by way of the Cross (Altar of Burnt Offerings) ere we ever presume to come into the Tabernacle of Worship.
Next is the Brazen Laver at which the priests washed prior to entering the Holy Place. Since Christ paid our penalty at Golgotha, all who belong to Him are now priests and ministers to the Most High God and are privileged to enter the Holy Place. But we must first be washed clean at the Brazen Laver that stood just before the door of the Holy Place. In the Anglican Tradition, this is the prayer of Humble Access prior to reception of the Lord’s Supper. We must not partake of that Supper unworthily, therefore, we repent of our sins always before reception. “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” (Matt 5:23-24) We are washed in the Blood of Christ and made Holy and righteous by His imputed righteousness and by no merit whatsoever of our own. Having washed our face (our feature that makes us known to others), our feet (those which take us to good or wicked paths), and our hands (those which evidence our works); we see our image reflected at the base of the Laver in the mirrored in the polished brass donated by the women and made from their own looking-glasses. “8 And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.”
Next is an important (to us) feature of the Tabernacle – the Court of the Tabernacle! “9 And he made the court: on the south side southward the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, an hundred cubits: 10 Their pillars were twenty, and their brasen sockets twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. 11 And for the north side the hangings were an hundred cubits, their pillars were twenty, and their sockets of brass twenty; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver. 12 And for the west side were hangings of fifty cubits, their pillars ten, and their sockets ten; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver. 13 And for the east side eastward fifty cubits. 14 The hangings of the one side of the gate were fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three. 15 And for the other side of the court gate, on this hand and that hand, were hangings of fifteen cubits; their pillars three, and their sockets three. 16 All the hangings of the court round about were of fine twined linen. 17 And the sockets for the pillars were of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver; and the overlaying of their chapiters of silver; and all the pillars of the court were filleted with silver. 18 And the hanging for the gate of the court was needlework, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: and twenty cubits was the length, and the height in the breadth was five cubits, answerable to the hangings of the court. 19 And their pillars were four, and their sockets of brass four; their hooks of silver, and the overlaying of their chapiters and their fillets of silver. 20 And all the pins of the tabernacle, and of the court round about, were of brass.” Of course, all was prepared in accordance with the specifications and detailed instructions imparted to Moses by the Lord. All was done in good order, and the effect was a plain appearance from without, and a brilliant and pristine Beauty from within. That identifies the Lord Jesus Christ in perfect terms. The unbeliever sees no thing of beauty in beholding Christ, but those who have been privileged to enter into the Tabernacle of His Heart sees ONLY Beauty! One important point: the walls of the outer court were limited by hanging curtains. This signifies that they are temporary in nature and will eventually be removed so that all peoples – Jews, Gentiles, Bond, and Free may enter alike into the grace of His Presence.
FINALLY, please note how well documented and honestly reported were all of the gifts received for the building of the Tabernacle: “21 This is the sum of the tabernacle, even of the tabernacle of testimony, as it was counted, according to the commandment of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar, son to Aaron the priest. 22 And Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD commanded Moses. 23 And with him was Aholiab, son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver, and a cunning workman, and an embroiderer in blue, and in purple, and in scarlet, and fine linen. 24 All the gold that was occupied for the work in all the work of the holy place, even the gold of the offering, was twenty and nine talents, and seven hundred and thirty shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary. 25 And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: 26 A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men. 27 And of the hundred talents of silver were cast the sockets of the sanctuary, and the sockets of the vail; an hundred sockets of the hundred talents, a talent for a socket. 28 And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their chapiters, and filleted them. 29 And the brass of the offering was seventy talents, and two thousand and four hundred shekels. 30 And therewith he made the sockets to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the brasen altar, and the brasen grate for it, and all the vessels of the altar, 31 And the sockets of the court round about, and the sockets of the court gate, and all the pins of the tabernacle, and all the pins of the court round about.” (Ex 38:1-31)
How well this contrasts from the shady closed doors accounting of many churches and clergy today. Nothing of the resources of the Tabernacle and gifts were left for question. Should we not do likewise?