Exodus 35 - 40 - Outline of Exodus (Book Notes menu page)
For these closing chapters, our study notes follow a somewhat different format. Rather than moving paragraph by paragraph, our comments encompass these chapters together. Most of the themes that arise here have already been discussed in some detail in earlier chapters.
First, read the scripture text (click on the links, find the text in the window below). Then return to this window to follow the study.
The Construction of the Tabernacle was consistent with the Pattern (refs. in parenthesis)-
Compare the detailed construction record (left window) with the detailed pattern (right window).
Although these chapters seem repetitive, it is not idle repetition. Earlier chapters provided instructions for construction of the Tabernacle (ch. 25-30). Here, we are shown that the construction was accomplished according to those instructions.
This teaches us that...
  1. God's provision must be appropriated.
  2. God's plans are not theories, meant for the drawing board.
    Rather, they are meant to be the foundation and structure of our faith and practice.
  3. God's Word is to be "worked out" in our lives.
Some striking features of these chapters-
  1. Voluntary devotedness - The Tabernacle was built by...
    1. Willing donors. Ex 35:4-5,21-22,29 (cp. 2Cor 9:7)
      Note the outcome: "much more than enough." Ex 36:4-7 (cp. 2Cor 9:8-10)
      • This 'over-supply' was attained without a 'fund raising campaign.'
      • This result was reported honestly by those in charge. They did not adjust the 'need' to absorb the excess. Neither did they redirect the excess to their personal profit.
    2. Willing workers -
      1. whose hearts stirred them up to the work. Ex 36:2; 35:26
        They were not serving 'by the clock' or 'by compulsion.'
        Rather, they engaged in joyful service to the LORD.
        cp. Psa 100:2,3; Eph 6:6,7; Col 3:22,23; 1Cor 9:16,17; 1Pet 5:2
      2. who were prepared by God for His work. They were...
  2. Implicit Obedience- "according to all that the LORD had commanded." (Ex 36:1)
    The importance of this is emphasized by...
    1. the LORD's repeated warnings: Ex 25:40; 26:30; 31:11; cp. Heb 8:5
    2. the record of construction in Ex 35-39 is...
      • explicit to the smallest detail, item for item matching the pattern in Ex 25-30.
        (For ease of comparison, use the chart above.)
      • consistent with the order in which the pattern was given.
        eg., The Ark was described before the Altar was described.
        Likewise, the Ark was built before the Altar was built.
        However, there are a few notable differences of order.
        eg., The Tabernacle and its Coverings were constructed before the Furniture, although the pattern of the Furniture was described first.
        Perhaps, this is meant to emphasize the separation between the Holy God and the people, whose sinfulness was demonstrated after the pattern was received.
    3. the report of completion of the pieces (Ex 39:32)
    4. the required inspection of the pieces (Ex 39:33-43)
    5. the LORD's renewed instructions for assembly and consecration of the Tabernacle. Ex 40:1-15)
    6. the report of compliance and completion (Ex 40:16-33).
      The repetition of detail continued until everything was, not only finished, but also
      accepted by the LORD (40:34), as compliant with the pattern which He had given.
      Moses had been faithful, as a servant of the LORD, in His House. Heb 3:1-6
    The details and the order of the Pattern of the Tabernacle speak of Christ.
    Some points (previously discussed) include:
    • His Person - He is the God/Man (depicted by the wood overlaid with gold).
    • His Character - He is the Law-Keeper (depicted by the Ark of the Testimony).
    • His Atonement, in His blood - (the Mercy-seat)-
        -- He is our Mediator, our Meeting Place with God.
    • His Fellowship with the Father (the Table, the Lamp, the Altar of Incense).
        -- He is the basis of our Fellowship with the Father.
        -- He is the believer's Bread, Light, Advocate, Intercessor, and Access before the Father.
    • His Work to Cleanse the believer (the Brazen Laver).
    • His Work of Salvation, as the Sacrificial Substitute, for the believing sinner (the Brazen Altar).
    As Moses "finished the work" of building the Tabernacle which speaks of Christ (Ex 40:33),
    so, Christ finished God's work of salvation depicted in the Tabernacle (Joh 19:30).
    In Him alone, God's people are brought to completion as the true House of God. Heb 3:5,6; Eph 2:18-22; Col 2:9,10; 2Pet 1:3,4
  3. The Presence of God - Ex 40:34,35
    The beauty of the Tabernacle was not in the rough exterior covering of animal skins, nor in the gold which overlaid the furnishings inside, but rather, in the God whose Glory shined between the cherubim above the Mercy Seat, within the Holy of Holies, unseen by the world. The external visible cloud was both a covering and a manifestation of that Glory.
    The Presence of the LORD...
    1. sanctifies God's people.- cp. 33:12-17
    2. sets the direction for God's people. cp. Ex 40:36-38; Num 9:15-23
      Christ is the head of the Church (Col 1:18).
      • Do we earnestly seek to know His mind?
        Do we truly follow His lead?
      • Do we choose elders based on their knowledge of the Lord?
        or, on their success in business?
      • Do we conduct our ministries by searching the scriptures and seeking His face?
        or, according to opinion polls and management techniques borrowed from the world?
    3. was "in the sight of all... Israel" (Ex 40:38) -
      • It was not for Moses alone, to determine the course of God's people.
        All were responsible to watch, and to obey.
      • How do we determine the Lord's will?
        Is it according the the 'pattern' of His Word? Isa 8:19,20; 2Tim 3:13-17
        Do our plans mesh with God's revealed will and purposes?
    4. was with them "throughout all their journeys" (Ex 40:38) -
      • Exodus begins with God's people in bondage in Egypt. It closes on the road to the promised land, in the glory of His Presence. There was still a long way to go. But the LORD promised to see them through, if they would only follow Him.
      • Likewise, the believer has escaped from the kingdom of darkness, and has been translated into the kingdom of God's dear {ie., beloved} Son. Following Him, we will not be disappointed in our hope {confident expectation} of entering Heaven's glory. Col 1:13-29; Jude 1:24,25

This concludes the study in Exodus.
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