Shall we turn now in our Bibles to Exodus chapter 27. When God created man, the purpose of God in creating man was that of fellowship, that God might be one with His creation, that there might be a close, meaningful communion, or relationship, between God and man. So God created man a spiritual being. He placed His spirit in a body, and He gave to man a consciousness. Man’s consciousness was absorbed with God, being a spiritual being, and God being a Spirit. And with the spirit uppermost in man, an inferior trinity of spirit, soul, and body; and God the superior trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit: man fellowshipped with God, and there was a beautiful communion between God and man there in the garden as man walked with God, and was answering to the very purpose of his creation.
Man had only one restriction. He could not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden. Man, in order that his fellowship with God be meaningful, was given the capacity of choice, but that capacity of choice is invalid if there is no choice to make. So God had to put the tree there so man could have a true choice.
The capacity of choice is invalidated if God does not honor the choice, so God would honor the choice that man made. He put the restriction; He said, “Don’t eat of that tree. If you do, you’re going to die.” He was talking about spiritual death, and as the result of that, there would be a breaking of the communion with God. That’s death. Separation of a man’s consciousness from God is what the Bible terms as death. If a person lives for pleasure, the Bible says they’re dead while they’re still alive.
Man made the wrong and the foolish choice in the garden, and he ate of the forbidden fruit, and he suffered the inevitable consequence of separation from God, as the result of sin. God said, “Your sins have separated you from God.”
Now God is seeking to make a way back for man, whereby man might be able to come back into fellowship with God, where the purposes of God can again be fulfilled in and through man. It is a long process. God is going to send His Son into the world, that through His Son, there might be an atonement made for man’s sin. So the door back into fellowship with God can be opened to man.
But He first of all had to choose a nation, and to choose a nation, He had to choose a man to be the father of that nation. And God called Abraham out of the Ur of the Chaldees, that he would journey by faith into a land that God would show him, and if so, God would make him a great nation.
Again, the exercise of choice.
And Abraham chose to follow God; and he journeyed not knowing where he was going, only knowing that he was “looking for a city which hath foundation, whose maker and builder was God;” and he realized he was only a stranger on this earth. And he journeyed until he came to the land, and God promised to give to Abraham all of the land that he could see from the top of Bethel; north, east, south, and west, and to his descendants after him.
But God, in a vision, showed to Abraham that before his descendants could inherit the land, there was going to be four hundred years of darkness, as they would be in Egypt. But after the four hundred years of sojourn in Egypt, God raised up Moses to bring them out of the land of Egypt, and with that, there came the birth of the nation.
A nation that was to be a special nation above all nations on the earth: for from this nation, there was to come the Messiah, the Savior. He was to be of the seed of Abraham. God promised, “That in thy seed, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” Later on again, narrowed down to the tribe of Judah, and coming from David.
But as God formed the nation, He drew the nation to Himself in order that this nation might know the power and the presence of God; they had to become conscious of the presence of God, and they had to realize that their approach to God was only through sacrifice, because their sins had separated them from God. And in order to come back to God, there must some kind of an expiation of their guilt, and that was through sacrifice.
And so, in order that they might become conscious of the presence of God in their midst, and become aware of the necessity of sacrifice in order to approach God, God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle, a tent, called, “the place of meeting.” They were to put it in the midst of the camp, and all of the tribes were to camp around the tent of meeting. And there in the center of the camp, it was to be to them a reminder that God was to be the heart of the nation. They were a separate nation, as God said, a special treasure unto Him above all of the nations. They were to be a kingdom of priests. They were to be a holy nation, a holy people.
And so, to build this tabernacle and it’s furnishings, it was in reality, to be a model of heaven, and of the throne of God, and of the mercy seat that is before the throne of God, and of the altar of incense, and of the presence of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit there in the throne of God, and about the throne of God.
And so, God instructed Moses to build this tabernacle. He instructed him how it was to be made; the types of materials that were to be used. In using the various metals, it should be noted, and it will help you in your understanding and putting the whole thing together, that metals always had a symbolic meaning.
Gold was always symbolic of heaven. So, whenever you get to the instruments that were made of gold, or covered with gold, you have then the picture of heaven, the heavenly scene.
Silver is always a metal that has to do with redemption. Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver; and it is a metal that deals with redemption, and whenever you come to the silver, it always has a redemptive sense to it. The redemption was always done in silver.
Brass, or bronze, as the actual case was; bronze is always a metal signifying judgment. And thus, the outward altar, in which the sacrifices were burned, was of brass: because it spoke of the judgment. The little altar of incense before the veil was of gold, because that spoke of heaven, and the incense of our prayers ascend to God. The big laver in front of the tent, again of brass. The washing, the idea again of the judgment; the sacrifices for sin was made. The judgment fell upon the animal that was slain. And so, the washing and the brass laver, or the bronze, and that is always the symbol of judgment.
You remember in their history, a little further on, the snakes were sent into the camp, and the people began to die as the result of the snake bites. And Moses called to the LORD, and the LORD said, “Make a bronze serpent, put it on a pole, and put it in the middle of the camp. And whoever looks upon that serpent who was bitten by the snakes, will not die, but live.” The bronze serpent, the symbol of God’s judgment because of the sin of the people. And that became, then, an interesting type of Jesus, as He spoke to Nicodemus and said, “And as Moses raised the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” And so, Jesus, bearing the judgment of God for our sins, and by our looking to Him, we do not die, but we have everlasting life.
So, as we go on and continue in a rather difficult portion of Scripture, in that, it is hard for us to relate to these things because they are far removed and a part of the Old Testament, still they are important. Because so many people today say, “Well, listen, I’m on good terms with God. I just come in at any time, and I just talk with God. And I don’t really feel the need of Jesus Christ. Why should I bother with Jesus when I‘m a good friend of God, and God and I are on good terms, and I just come and talk to Him?” Listen, if you try to come directly to God, you’d be burned to a crisp. I mean, there is no direct approach to God, and there was to direct approach to God in the Old Testament.
The approach to God in the Old Testament was a difficult route, and you couldn’t come yourself. You could only come as far as the outer altar, and there you could give it to the priest, and he had to take it from there. And the priest had to go to God for you. And he had to go to God for the nation, and only that once a year, and only that after sacrifices for himself, and then sacrifices for the nation. I mean, it was an awesome thing, and we’ll get into it just a little bit here as we move along. But the whole value to us is to show what God has done for us in Jesus Christ, in making an access directly to God for each of you through Jesus, our great High Priest, who has entered into heaven with the sacrifice of His own blood, whereby He has made a way into God for each one of us.
And, of course, you remember, at the death of Christ, with the other phenomena that took place: the darkened skies, the earthquake, the veil of the temple was torn from the top to the bottom, as God was indicating the way into the presence of God has now been made through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ; for which all of these other sacrifices were only a foreshadowing and pointing ahead to.
So, to fully understand what the work of Jesus Christ on your behalf really means, you have to really understand the sacrifices of the Old Testament. And even though this may not seem to be so inspirational, and rather laborious, yet, as you come to and understanding of it, you come to a much deeper and fuller appreciation of what Jesus has done for you in making access unto the Father for each of us who come unto God by him. The door is open, the way is made, and each of us may enter now boldly unto that throne of mercy, that we might find grace in our time of need.
So, we dealt last week with, first of all, the furnishings of the inner portion of this little tabernacle. The tabernacle was divided into two sections. One room was thirty by fifteen, the other was a fifteen foot cube. The fifteen foot cube was a room of all gold. It was made of acacia boards, and they were overlaid with gold. So you walk into the holy of holies through the veil, and it was all gold. In the midst of the room was a little ark of the covenant with a lid of solid gold called the mercy seat, upon which were carved two cherubim. And there was the model of the dwelling place of God, who dwells in the midst of the cherubim there in heaven. And there it is where the high priest would enter once a year with the blood of the atonement for the people.
In this other little room, thirty by fifteen, again, the golden walls; on the right hand side as you entered the room would be the table of shewbread, the twelve loaves of bread: the symbol of Jesus, the Bread of Life. In front of the veil there was this little golden altar, the altar of incense where the incense was to be burned each day. And on the left hand side was the seven armed lamp stand. And this lamp stand had little cups filled with olive oil, and we’ll get to that type of olive oil in awhile; and there was the symbol of the Holy Spirit, the seven-fold working of the Holy Sprit, there surrounding the throne of God.
Now we come outside. That was inside the tabernacle. Now we come outside.
And on the outside, chapter 27, there was to be an altar made of acacia wood, seven and a half feet long, seven and a half feet wide, so it was in a square, seven and a half feet; and the height of it was to be four and a half feet.
So, if you can picture it now, this altar made of acacia wood; seven foot square, and four and a half feet tall. On each of the corners there was to be a horn, and they were to overlay this acacia wood with bronze. And then they were to make pans for the ashes, and they were to be of bronze; and everything that related to this altar of sacrifice was of bronze; the bronze rings for the sticks to go through so that they could carry it from place to place. This was to be hollow.
Now, evidently, you remember when God said, “When you make an altar, make it of earth. Don’t make it of hewn stone;” this box was made to go around the dirt altar. So it was hollow; that is, it was just an outward box, and the altar would be of earth in the middle of it.
Now, they were to make, also, an outer courtyard around this whole tent. This outer courtyard was to be one hundred and fifty feet long, from the north and the south sides; and seventy five feet wide, with an opening on the east side; and it was to be seven and a half feet high. So it was sort of a fence to keep people from coming in to this tabernacle; the place of God. It was a privacy fence of sorts, as well as a barrier to keep people from coming to the tent of meeting. And you could only come in through the gate that was there on the east side: also made of curtains, and curtain gate. And as you read it, the brass poles, again, the judgment; but they were set in the sockets of silver, the redemption; and the hooks, and so forth; and the curtains that went all the way around and are described there.
Then, in verse 20,
You shall command the children of Israel, that they bring pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually.
Now, the pure oil of pressed olives is different: did you know that there are different kinds of olive oil? You’ll notice on the thing, it says, “olive oil.” Then you can read, “virgin olive oil.” And then there is, “pure virgin olive oil.” And there are actually three qualities, or types of olive oil; and the best, of course, is the pure virgin olive oil.
Now, that’s made by the pressing of the green olives; and it is considered the finest olive oil. It is clear, and it is rather smokeless when it is used as an oil for candles, it’s rather smokeless. Now, that is just pure oil.
When they take, and they would put the olives in the olive presses, and run the big stones over it, the oil that would run out would be olive oil. It’s got water and all in it, too. It doesn’t have as pure a flavor, and that’s just plain olive oil, and it was made by the crushing of the olives.
This was made by just the pressing of the green olives, the pure oil. And this was the kind of oil that was to be used for the light to burn continually.
Now, as we get a little further, it would indicate that the lampstand would burn all night. They would burn the oil in the evening, and in the morning they would trim the wicks, and they would light it in the evening. So, the indication is that it was to burn all night there in the tent of meeting, or the tabernacle.
Now, we come to the priestly garments, and God commanded Moses to made these garments for Aaron his brother as the high priest, and for his sons. The garments were to be for glory and for beauty: verse 2. So, they were to call the gifted artisans to make these garments that he might be sanctified, or set apart as the priest, and to minister for the people as their priest.
Now, the first part that they describe, as far as the making of the garment is sort of a vest. It’s called an ephod. And the ephod came over the shoulders, it was tied here at the shoulders, and it was tied with a little pin that was actually an onyx stone in a setting of gold, and an onyx stone on each side. And in these onyx stones were inscribed the names of the twelve tribes, so that whenever the priests went into the holy of holies wearing this priestly robe, there on his shoulders, the names of the twelve tribes, as he bore the twelve tribes before the LORD. And so, the idea was the bearing of the names of the tribes before the LORD with these pins that held this ephod on his shoulders; in the onyx stone, the inscription of the names.
It describes how they were to weave it out of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen. So, it must have been quite exquisite in it’s color and in it’s beauty; a real work of art.
And then, there was to be the breastplate that the priest wore over the ephod: a span, by a span. So, it was a square little plate, again, woven of the same gold, purple, and scarlet threads, and all; and one span. But on this little breastplate, there were twelve precious gems. And on these gems, also the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, thus, worn over the heart of the priest. As he entered in to minister for the nation, he had over his heart: the twelve tribes on this breastplate that he wore over the top of the ephod. And there were two rings in it with the chain of gold, and it came over, it was put over his head with the chains of gold and hung over his heart. And thus, he bore before the LORD the names of the sons of Israel.
And, in that breastplate, they put the Urim and the Thummim. Now, herein, we run into a difficulty. What in the world is the Urim and the Thummim? The words mean “lights and perfection’s.” Now just exactly what the Urim and the Thummim was, we do not know. Anything that we would offer would be speculation. We do know that the Urim and the Thummim were the methods by which the people came to the priest to inquire of the LORD. Now just in what manner, in what way it worked, I don’t know.
What I do know, is that it wasn’t the magic glasses that Joseph Smith found with the golden tablets, by which, when he wore them, he could translate the hieroglyphics on the tablets. That’s what he claimed. He found the Urim and the Thummim: glasses, magic glasses, that once he put them on, the hieroglyphics were intelligible to him. No.
But they were, in some way, used to inquire of the will of the Lord. Now, it has been suggested that the Urim and the Thummim were, in reality, a white stone and a black stone; and that when they would ask God a direct question, the priest would reach in and pull out a stone. If he pulled out the white stone, the answer from God was yes. If he pulled out the black stone, the answer was no.
And so, they would go, they would pray, and say, “Lord, give us understanding now. Do you want us to go out against the enemy?” And then they would pull out the stone. And then they would become more specific. “Shall we go now, or shall we go later?” And they would ask the questions, and they would pull out the stones. That is one suggestion. I don’t know. The words, again, mean, “lights and perfection’s,” the Urim and the Thummim; but by these, there was a method by which they discerned the will of God and received answers from God, and His direction. And further on, you’ll find them inquiring of the priest through the use of the Urim and the Thummim: the inquiring of the priests for the will of God.
Now, they were to make a robe that would go over the ephod, or just under the ephod, and it was all of blue. An opening in the middle for the head, and you just put your head through, and the thing came over you, the blue robe of the ephod. And then, they were to put upon it, on the hem, little pomegranates, blue and purple, and scarlet yarn. So they were to make these little pomegranates; and why pomegranates, I don’t know; and bells of gold between them, and all around. So, there was to be on the hem, this little colored pomegranate, and then a golden bell. A pomegranate, a golden bell, all the way around the hem of the robe of the high priest.
The purpose of this,
It shall be upon Aaron when he ministers; and its sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before the LORD, and when he comes out, that he may not die.
So, according to the traditions, when the high priest went into the holy of holies, that, once a year on the day of atonement to bear before the LORD the atonement for the sins of the nation, these golden bells on the bottom of his robe: they would wait outside and they would listen to the bells, but there was a rope tied to his foot. And if ever the bells would cease, they’d drag him out. He had been slain before the LORD. There was something wrong with him, with his life, or with his sacrifice.
Again, to give the people that feeling of reverence and awesomeness in coming into the presence of God. I mean, you just don’t come in on a chummy “hi, bud;” and you know, “how’s everything going” business. You hear people talking in a very loose and frivolous way sometimes about God, like a ‘good buddy’ basis. Hey, He is the creator of the whole universe, and we always stand in awe and in wonder before Him. It isn’t really a good buddy kind of a relationship. And the people had that consciousness. Even when the high priest would go in after all of the ritual, and all of the ceremony, all of the bathings, and everything else, here were these golden bells that they would listen for. And if everything became silent, and hear a “Crash,” and everything’s silent, man, bad news. Drag him out. So that was the purpose.
Now, also, on this turban that he wore: this miter or crown, there was a gold plate. And on his gold plate was inscribed “HOLINESS TO THE LORD.” And he goes ahead to describe this blue turban that the high priest was to wear upon his head.
So, verse 38,
It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things with the children of Israel, hallow in all of their holy gifts; and it shall be always on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.
‘And skillfully weave the tunic with fine linen thread,’ and so forth. And they’re to make, then, the priestly garments; and it describes those garments made for his sons.
Now having, then, made the garments, it was then necessary to consecrate Aaron for the priesthood, and his sons. And so, God instructed Moses how to go about consecrating them for their ministry. And it basically was done in three offerings a bullock, and two rams.
The bullock was first offered as a sin offering; the fat of it burned upon the altar, and then the rest of it taken outside of the camp and burned outside of the camp. It was the sin offering. The blood of the bullock was to be put upon Aaron and the garments. It was the blood of sacrifice.
But the interesting thing is that in verse 10, they were to bring that bull into the tabernacle, and Aaron and his sons were to put their hands on the head of the bull. Now as we move along, we’re going to find that this is common in the sin offering sacrifice; and later on, you as a common person, waiting to offer a ‘sin offering’ sacrifice to the LORD, would bring your sacrifice into the area of the tabernacle, into the area of the burnt offering altar, and you would lay your hand upon the animal. It was a symbolic gesture, in which you were transferring all of your guilt and sin over onto that animal. And so, your guilt was being passed to the animal; your sins, and the guilt of your sin being passed on the animal; and then the animal, having received your sins, was slain: “For the wages of sin is death.”
And there came then, that consciousness that this animal is my substitute. I really should be dying. That animal is my substitute, it’s dying in my place, for all of my sins have been transferred by my laying of my hands on the head of the animal, my sins transferred on it, and it dies in my place. And I have that uncanny realization, “Hey, this animal is dying because of me, because of my guilt, because of my sin.”
Now, when we come to Jesus Christ, the same idea: he bore our sins. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we turned everyone of us to our own way; and God laid on Him the iniquities of us all.” And when we see Jesus dying on the cross, we must recognize that it is not for His guilt, but for my guilt that He is dying. He is my substitute, He is my sacrifice. My guilt was transferred onto Him, and He bore the punishment, or the judgment, – the penalty – for my sin in His death; “For the wages of sin is death.” And so, you see the picture, and it all begins to come clear as to what Jesus has done for you in His sacrificial death: as our sins were placed upon Him, and He died in our stead.
And so, the bull: Aaron and his sons put their hands upon it. The bull was slain, the blood was then taken and sprinkled upon the altar, put upon the horns of the altar, and then poured out beside the altar, and the fat burned on the altar; the bull then taken out, the rest of it outside of the camp, and was there burned.
Then, they were to take the first ram, and they were to sacrifice the first ram. This, then, was the burnt offering: which was the offering of consecration. Now, you see, you can’t really consecrate your life to God until the sin question is first resolved. I can’t really give God anything of myself: service, or whatever, that means anything until the sin issue is first taken care of. And so, the bull was to take care of the sin issue. Once that has been taken care of, now I can consecrate my life unto God.
And thus, interestingly enough, in this consecration offering, they then took a portion of the blood, and they put it upon his ear, upon his thumb, upon his big toe. And the idea of that is that I might have an ear that is consecrated to hear the voice of God; I might have hands that are consecrated to do the service of God; I might have feet that are consecrated that I might walk in the path of God.
And so, it was a dramatic kind of a ceremony; but it was very meaningful as you see the ram that is slain, and then the blood is put upon your ear, and that thought, “Oh God, may my ear ever be consecrated to hear Your voice, listening, Lord, to You. May my hands ever be consecrated, Lord, in serving You; and my feet ever be consecrated to walk in Your path.”
And then it goes on with the wave offerings, and the eating of the little cakes that were made, or the loaves of bread that were made with the oil, and the unleavened bread, and all.
Then in verse 38, having consecrated them for the priesthood, now there are certain offering that are to be offered on a daily basis.
This is what you shall offer on the altar; two lambs of the first year every day continually. One lamb is to offered in the morning; and the other offered at twilight.
So at the beginning of the day, and the end of the day. Now to them, the twilight offering would be the beginning of the day, but with us, we think of the day beginning at twelve midnight, but with them, it began in the evening. But the two sacrifices: one in the morning, one in the evening.
And with them, this tenth part of flour mixed with pressed oil, and wine as a drink offering.
This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD; where I will meet you, to speak with you. So, this is the purpose of the tabernacle. A place where God would meet with the people to speak to His people. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory. That is, the ‘Shekinah glory’ of God upon it. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them; I am JEHOVAH their God.
Now, the purpose of the tabernacle: the place of meeting God; but also to bring them into that continual consciousness of the nearness of God, that God’s dwelling place is not way off in the universe somewhere, but God seeks to dwell among His people, and so is always the case.
God seeks to dwell in the midst of His people, in the center of the camp. ‘I will dwell among the people.’ And so their tents being pitched around the tabernacle, the tent doors facing the tabernacle. As they would come out of their tent doors, they would see in the morning, first thing, the smoke of that lamb that was sacrificed, and they would be reminded of the fact that God dwelt in the midst of His people.
In the evening, as they would retire into their tent, looking back as they were latching the tent, they would see the smoke of the evening sacrifice, and again, the reminder: God dwells in the midst of His people.
How we need to come to a consciousness of the presence of God. I’m dwelling in the presence of God. “In Him we live, we move, we have our being.” And that consciousness of God’s presence is such an important thing for each one of us; not to think of God as way off somewhere in the universe, as though I might hide from Him.
Do not think that God is out in the heavens, that we have to say, “Who can ascend into heaven to bring Him down?” Nor dwelling in the depths, that we should say, “Who will go down to bring them up?” But the Lord is near unto you, yea, is as close as your mouth; for if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from dead, you’ll be saved.” God is close to each one of us, and He wants us to be aware of that closeness. He dwells among His people.
And again, now, Jesus becoming our tabernacle. This was all a type of Jesus, God dwelling in the midst of His people; and that’s exactly what Jesus was, God dwelling in the midst of His people.
“The Word became flesh, and He tabernacles among us, and we beheld his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth:” and the whole idea of Jesus is to bring to us the awareness: God with us. ‘Emmanuel, Emmanuel, His name is called Emmanuel.’ God is with us. He lives with us. That’s the whole meaning of Emmanuel. “Call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” And so, that presence of God among His people in the person of Jesus Christ.
Now, one of the furnishings inside of the temple was omitted when He was going through and ordering the lampstand, and the little table of shewbread and all; and the one furnishing that was omitted was that of the altar of incense, the second altar. And so, in chapter 30, He describes how the altar of incense is to be made.
And again, a little square box made out of acacia wood, covered with gold, and it is a cubit, or eighteen inches square; and it is two cubits, or three feet high. And again, the horns are one piece with it. So the top of it of gold, but the horns are made out of gold, and come out of the corners. There is to be two gold rings in it, again, for portability. You remember this whole thing had to be moved. Every time the cloud would move, man, you’d have to go in, roll up the tent, and pick up the staves, and carry this thing. And so the portable sanctuary: where they move it wherever they went.
And on this was to be burned sweet incense every morning. When the priest went to take care of the lamps, to trim the wicks, and all, verse 7, he was to burn sweet incense; and when he lights the lamps at twilight; again, he shall burn incense on it. So, notice he is lighting the lights at twilight; and that is why we say they evidently didn’t stay burning continually, but only through the evening hours; lighting them at twilight.
Now, the incense in the Scripture is always a type of prayer: our prayers ascending unto God as sweet incense. In other words, your prayers are to God pleasant, a pleasant aroma. The prayers of the saints come before God as a pleasant aroma.
In the book of Revelation, chapter five, there is introduced this scroll in the right hand of him who is sitting upon the throne. The strong angel proclaims with his voice, “Who is worthy to take the scroll and loose the seals, the title deed to the earth?” No one was found worthy: in heaven, or earth, or under the sea. John begins to sob, because no one’s found worthy. The elder says, “Don’t weep, John. Behold the Lion of the Tribe of Judah has prevailed to take the scroll and loose the seals.” John turned, saw Him as the Lamb that had been slaughtered, and then he came, and he took the scroll out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne. Immediately, the twenty-four elders picked up these little golden bowls full of incense, and they offered them before the Lord: the prayers. And it says, “The incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
Now, the significance of Jesus taking the scroll, the title deed to the earth, means that the kingdoms of this world are now to become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ. It’s all over, as far as man is concerned, in ruling over the earth. God is now going to rule. God’s kingdom is going to come.
How many times have you prayed, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven?” All of these are being stored as incense; and at that moment, when Jesus takes the scroll, then these prayers as incense will be brought to God; the prayers of the saints through the centuries; “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.”
So prayer as incense arising before God. I think it’s in Psalm 102 where David says, “Let my prayer rise as incense before Thee.” And it is always a type of the prayers of God’s people ascending unto the LORD.
So this altar of incense, and special kind of incense that was to be burned. You weren’t to try to make this incense for any other purpose. If you did, you’d be cut off. It was used exclusively; the formulation of this particular incense used exclusively for this little golden altar before the veil of the holy of holies, where every morning and every evening, the incense would be offered: the prayers of God’s people, the symbol of the prayers of God’s people ascending to God.
Then in verse 11, it talks about this ransom money, the shekel that had to be given. And every man above the age of twenty had to give the shekel. Rich or poor, you had to give a shekel. The rich could not give more, the poor could not give less. The shekel wasn’t really very much, but it was called the money of ransom, whereby you ransomed yourself, in a sense, with the silver shekel.
Now, the fact that everyone had to give the same amount was indicative of the fact that every man is equal in the sight of God. God has no special favors for the rich, nor the poor. Every man stands before God on an equal plane. No matter where you are in the financial scale, Fortune 500 or whatever; hey, when you stand before God, you’re all on the equal plane. God looks at every man alike. “He is no respector of man’s person.” And so, the fact that they all gave the same amount was indicative of the fact that God looks at all of us with equal value.
Now, we don’t think that, do we? We think that God must value Billy Graham above all of the rest of us because, man, look what he’s done; or the pope, or some of these other guys. Surely God values them more than He values me. “Who am I,” you know? But God values us all the same. And thus, they all gave the same.
Now the interesting thing; this is also the way they took the census. They weren’t really to number the people, because God said that the descendants of Abraham would be innumerable; as the stars of the heaven, innumerable. David, remember, later on got into trouble because he numbered the people.
But what they would do is they had this time of the year when every man came in, paid his temple tax, and by this, the tabernacle was run, and kept up and all; but then they would count the shekels. ‘Don’t count the men, just count the shekels,’ and by that they knew how many men above twenty were there. And so, it was also a way of taking the census.
Then, there was this bronze laver, bowl; the base of bronze. It was for the washing of the priest, and they were to put water in it, and Aaron and his sons were to wash their hands and to wash their feet whenever they came near the tabernacle. If they would just walk into the tabernacle without washing they’re hands and feet, then they would be fried. They’d be burned. It was a serious offense. So, they were to wash when they came near the altar to minister,
and to burn the offering by fire to the LORD; they will wash with water lest they die.
Now, two of Aaron’s sons, as we move ahead in the story, when they finally set the thing up, and everything is now set up, they bring the first sacrifice in, and everything’s ready to go, the people are all gathered; as they set the sacrifice upon the altar, a fire came from heaven and kindled the altar and consumed the sacrifice. And two of Aaron’s sons got so excited, they grabbed their little incense bowls, and they grabbed some fire off the altar, and were going to go in to offer the incense. Perhaps they didn’t wash their hands or their feet, because fire came from the altar and consumed the two of them: one possibility. Another possibility: they’d been drinking a bit. We’ll deal with that when we get to the strange fire that they offered, and Nadab and Abihu were slain because of the strange fire that they offered to the Lord.
But, here it was again, the approach of God. Hey, you just don’t go running in. You’ll be consumed. God is a holy God, and we can only approach Him through Jesus Christ.
Now, the formulation of the anointing oil is given, [and this is sort of an aromatic kind of an oil;] and this gives the compounding of this special anointing oil. And they were not to duplicate it for any other purpose. If any man would try to duplicate for any other purpose, he was to be cut off.
And then, in verse thirty-four to the end, the same was true of the special formulation of the incense, the frankincense, and the combining of the other oils with it. And the making of the incense was to be, again, something that was used exclusively for the tabernacle, and not to be compounded or formulated for any other purpose.
And whoever makes anything like it to smell it for himself, and his own pleasure, shall be cut off from his people.
So, basically, there we have it: the tabernacle and it’s furnishings. Now, we need skilled men to do the job, and as we get into the lessons next week, we find God anointing these men with the skills to do the work. And so, we’ll go on through chapter thirty-four next week; and then the following week, we’ll finish the book of Exodus, taking a few more chapters. But we’re really going to go fast because it’s just a repetition of just what we’ve gone over, basically, as they then made it according to the plan.
My wife told me, “Honey, you’ve got to quit by 8:30.” So I made it tonight, but that’s no guarantee of the future; but, we’ll try. We’ll try to get you out of here by 8:30 on Sunday evenings so you can get the kids to bed, and they can get up bright for school tomorrow.
May the Lord be with you, and watch over, keep you in His love, give you a good week this week; and may you live in that consciousness of God’s presence as God dwells among His people, and we experience the joy and the fullness of that blessing of dwelling with Him.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7035