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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

July 18, 2018

Exodus  40:1-33

  1. We skipped over chapters 37-39 because this is just the execution of what God told Moses to do with regards to the creation of the items for the tabernacle and the creation of the priestly garments. Moses had the men and women who were gifted and talented to do the work.

  2. Verses 1-3. The time arrived for the tabernacle to be erected with the Holy of Holies and its accompanying Holy Place to the west, and the courtyard entrance to the east. The worshippers would enter from the east facing west. The tabernacle would consist of two parts, the outer court and the inner court with the inner court containing two sections called the holy place and the Holy of Holies divided by a curtain. The Holy Place was 30 feet long and 15 feet wide. As we discussed in an earlier lesson, the candlestick, the table for the showbread and the altar of incense were all in the Holy Place. The Holy Place and the Holy of Holies made up the tabernacle. This tabernacle was forbidden to the congregation. They could only go into the outer enclosure. Read (chapter 3 and 9 of Hebrews), to see how this tabernacle was a miniature of the one in heaven. In terms of pagan religions and their worship of the sun god, some significance might be seen in the High-Priest worshiping God with his back to the rising sun. Most religions teach their followers to face the sun. All who entered the courtyard also turned their backs to the rising sun as they came in to sacrifice and worship. The setting up of the tabernacle and tent of meeting is symbolic of our salvation. First, the tabernacle is raised up and put together. The tabernacle was raised up about a year after the Exodus from Egypt, 10 months after they arrived at Sinai. The first part of our salvation is being born again and raised with Christ. The red Sea was a picture of our baptism that destroyed the chains and set us free to walk with God. Now we rise in Christ as a dwelling place for God on earth. (Romans 6:1-11, 2 Corinth 6:19, 2 Corinth 5:1-2). God tells Moses to set up the tabernacle and tent of meeting first on the first part the spring very close to the time of resurrection. The next item which was the most important item was placed inside the inner court. This was the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant is at the heart of the tabernacle. This ark is a symbol of God's presence in our lives, and God must be at the center. The ark was placed behind a veil or curtain. This place is considered the Holy of Holies.

  3. Verses 4-5. As one would enter the inner court, they would see to the right the table of showbread, and to the left the lampstand. Closer to the curtain would be the altar of incense. In previous studies, we have talked about the table of bread as a picture of communion with God, the incense a sign of prayers, and the lamp a sign of God's word. All these are in the heart of a person. A person's prayers should come from the heart, God places the word in our hearts, and bread is a symbol of Jesus giving us our daily bread. All of this is in the inner court.

  4. Verses 6-8. Now our focus goes to the outer court. As one would enter the tabernacle area known as the outer court, they would first see the altar of burnt offering, and then see the basin in between the altar and the entrance to the inner court. We have taught before that these are pictures or symbols of the fact that there needs to be a sacrifice and a cleansing before we can fellowship with God. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and his blood was the only cleansing agent for our souls.

  5. Verses 9-11. Moses is now commanded to anoint everything with the special anointing oil. The things belonging to God for God's use would smell and look different from anything in the camp due to the shine of the oil and its fragrance. Something about you should be different from others around you.

  6. Verses 12-16. Moses was now commanded to perform a ceremonial washing and anointing of Aaron and his sons.

  7. Verses 17-19. Moses now sets up the outer enclosures to the tabernacle. Notice the outside is done last. This is a reminder that God works on the heart and then the results are seen on the outside, not the other way around. The tabernacle was completed almost one year after the Exodus from Egypt, and nine months after Israel’s arrival at Sinai (19:1). We see that it took a year to prepare, set up the tabernacle and get everything dedicated.

  8. Verses 20-21. Moses now takes the tablets of the law and places them in the Ark that has been built, places the atonement cover over the ark, and then brought the ark into the inner court where he then hung the veil to keep the ark hidden from all within the inner court.

  9. Verses 22-23. Moses then places the bread on the table. It would have been two rows of six cakes each. Twelve loaves in all. The loaves were a sign of Israel. Jesus showed this sign when he multiplied the loaves with 12 remaining in Mark 6:40-43 and Mark 8:6-8. Jesus is the bread, and then we become bread like him in that we become his ministers serving the bread of life to all who desire eternal life.

  10. Verses 24-25. Across from the table of bread was the lampstand and the seven lamps belonging to it. Once the light was lit, it must never be allowed to go out. This was one of the important jobs of the priest: to keep this light burning perpetually. This Light was to never go out. We know that Jesus is the Light of the world. We also know that we Christians must keep this flame burning forever. We too must not allow the Light of Jesus to go out.

  11. Verses 26-27. Now Moses put the altar in front of the entrance of the holy place and burned incense on it. This smell would fill the outer court and the inner court. The incense would place a cloud of smoke as one entered the holy place. The sweet aroma would accompany the priest as they entered the holy place. In the same way, our lives should be a sweet aroma to God. Remember, this was just outside the Holy of Holies and was to be burned twice a day, morning and evening. This symbolizes the prayers of the saints. We come into God’s presence through prayer.

  12. Verses 28-33. Moses puts up the outer curtain or the outer entrance to the tabernacle up and begins to perform burnt offerings on the altar as well as grain offerings. After Moses makes the sacrifices he commands Aaron and his sons to wash from the basin, and they were to wash every time they came in or approached the altar. This washing was symbolic in one way. It showed how the minister of God had to stay clean from all world pollution. The literal use was also significant in that walking in sandals got the feet dirty. The hands had to be clean to keep all of the beautiful linen clean as well. The ministers of the Lord today could see in this that their walk must be clean (holy), and that their ministering hands must be free of pollution as well. Moses has now completed the setup of the tabernacle and the priest. From this point, Aaron and his sons would do all the work in the tabernacle. Moses set it up, but the priest would perform the daily duties. Jesus set us up as priests to do the work of God.

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