1-7 The Altar of Burnt Offering 8 The Bronze Laver 9-17 The Hangings and Their Pillars 18-19 The Screen of the Gate 20 The Bronze Pegs 21-31 The Costs of the Tabernacle
The Altar of Burnt Offering

1Then he made the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood, five cubits long, and five cubits wide, square, and three cubits high. 2He made its horns on its four corners, its horns being [of one piece] with it, and he overlaid it with bronze. 3He made all the utensils of the altar, the pails and the shovels and the basins, the flesh hooks and the firepans; he made all its utensils of bronze. 4He made for the altar a grating of bronze network beneath, under its ledge, reaching halfway up. 5He cast four rings on the four ends of the bronze grating [as] holders for the poles. 6He made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with bronze. 7He inserted the poles into the rings on the sides of the altar, with which to carry it. He made it hollow with planks.

After the actual building and the objects that go with it, the objects that are in front of the building are made. First the altar of burnt offering is made. To this altar are brought the sacrifices which the Israelite brings voluntarily to the LORD and also the sacrifices which he is obliged to bring in certain cases. The sacrificial service at this altar is discussed in detail in the next book, Leviticus.

This altar is the meeting place where God meets His people. The basis is the continual burnt offering that is offered upon it (Exo 29:38-4538“Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously.39The one lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight;40and there [shall be] one-tenth [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil, and one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering with one lamb.41The other lamb you shall offer at twilight, and shall offer with it the same grain offering and the same drink offering as in the morning, for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD.42It shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the LORD, where I will meet with you, to speak to you there.43I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory.44I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me.45I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God.). In the letter to the Hebrews it is made clear that this altar and the sacrifice upon it have been fulfilled in Christ. Whoever still clings to this literal altar today has no part in the Christian fellowship (Heb 13:1010We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.).

See also Exodus 27:1-8.

The Bronze Laver

8Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

Here it is mentioned as a special feature that women gave the material for the laver in the form of their mirrors. The mirror, which they use to look at themselves and which caresses their pride, is handed in to make it the laver. It has cost them something to give up this important tool. Someone would only do that if she would get something better in return. And this is the case here.

The laver represents the Word of God. This is also compared with a mirror (Jam 1:23-2523For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;24for [once] he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.25But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the [law] of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.). The women’s mirror gives a complete picture of who is looking into it, but is not a means to change what is wrong. The mirror of the Word of God also gives a complete picture of who looks at himself in it, but it does give a means to change. Whoever sees himself as a sinner also reads how forgiveness and acceptance by God can take place.

Women on various occasions give an essential contribution to the work of God. They
1. serve the Lord with their goods (Lk 8:1-31Soon afterwards, He [began] going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him,2and [also] some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,3and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.);
2. sit at His feet (Lk 10:3939She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.);
3. anoint him (Lk 7:3737And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining [at the table] in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,.38; Jn 12:33Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.);
4. are at the cross (Jn 19:2525Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the [wife] of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.);
5. are at the tomb and at His resurrection (Mt 28:1-61Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.2And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.3And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.4The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.6He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.);
6. see Him first after His resurrection (Mt 28:7-97Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”8And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.9And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.);
7. are His messengers (Mt 28:1010Then Jesus *said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.”; Jn 20:16-1816Jesus *said to her, “Mary!” She turned and *said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher).17Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”18Mary Magdalene *came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and [that] He had said these things to her.);
8. are the first to accept the gospel in Philippi (Acts 16:13-1513And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.14A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.15And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.);
9. form, with others, the core of the church (Acts 1:1414These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with [the] women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.).

See also Exodus 30:17-21.

The Hangings and Their Pillars

9Then he made the court: for the south side the hangings of the court were of fine twisted linen, one hundred cubits; 10their twenty pillars, and their twenty sockets, [made] of bronze; the hooks of the pillars and their bands [were] of silver. 11For the north side [there were] one hundred cubits; their twenty pillars and their twenty sockets [were] of bronze, the hooks of the pillars and their bands [were] of silver. 12For the west side [there were] hangings of fifty cubits [with] their ten pillars and their ten sockets; the hooks of the pillars and their bands [were] of silver. 13For the east side fifty cubits. 14The hangings for the [one] side [of the gate were] fifteen cubits, [with] their three pillars and their three sockets, 15and so for the other side. On both sides of the gate of the court [were] hangings of fifteen cubits, [with] their three pillars and their three sockets. 16All the hangings of the court all around [were] of fine twisted linen. 17The sockets for the pillars [were] of bronze, the hooks of the pillars and their bands, of silver; and the overlaying of their tops, of silver, and all the pillars of the court were furnished with silver bands.

The building and the objects in front of it are surrounded on the south side, the north side, the west side and part of the east side by linen rugs held up by pillars. From the east side means that it is the side “where the sun rises”. The sun rises nowhere else but in the east. Mentioning this in this way can only mean that the attention is focused on the rising sun.

That reminds us of the Lord Jesus. Zachariah, in his hymn of praise, speaks of Him as “the Sunrise from on high” (Lk 1:7878Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
). In the future “the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple” (Mal 3:11“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.) and “the sun of righteousness will rise” (Mal 4:22“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.).

See also Exodus 27:9-15,17,18.

The Screen of the Gate

18The screen of the gate of the court was the work of the weaver, of blue and purple and scarlet [material] and fine twisted linen. And the length [was] twenty cubits and the height [was] five cubits, corresponding to the hangings of the court. 19Their four pillars and their four sockets [were] of bronze; their hooks [were] of silver, and the overlaying of their tops and their bands [were] of silver.

The remaining part of the hangings on the east side is different from the rest. It is a screen in front of the gate of the court and is colored. This gate is the only entrance.

See also Exodus 27:16.

The Bronze Pegs

20All the pegs of the tabernacle and of the court all around [were] of bronze.

Pillars have their place in the tabernacle, but also tent pegs. Pillars are impressive, while tent pegs seem insignificant. However, both are needed. In the church are men like “James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars” (Gal 2:99and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we [might go] to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.). However, there are also countless men and women whose names we do not know, but who are known to God. All are needed. Without pillars there can be no building; without pegs the pillars will not remain standing.

See also Exodus 27:19.

The Costs of the Tabernacle

21This is the number of the things for the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony, as they were numbered according to the command of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. 22Now Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD had commanded Moses. 23With him [was] Oholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver and a skillful workman and a weaver in blue and in purple and in scarlet [material], and fine linen. 24All the gold that was used for the work, in all the work of the sanctuary, even the gold of the wave offering, was 29 talents and 730 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. 25The silver of those of the congregation who were numbered was 100 talents and 1,775 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary; 26a beka a head ([that is], half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary), for each one who passed over to those who were numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for 603,550 men. 27The hundred talents of silver were for casting the sockets of the sanctuary and the sockets of the veil; one hundred sockets for the hundred talents, a talent for a socket. 28Of the 1,775 [shekels], he made hooks for the pillars and overlaid their tops and made bands for them. 29The bronze of the wave offering was 70 talents and 2,400 shekels. 30With it he made the sockets to the doorway of the tent of meeting, and the bronze altar and its bronze grating, and all the utensils of the altar, 31and the sockets of the court all around and the sockets of the gate of the court, and all the pegs of the tabernacle and all the pegs of the court all around.

Everything is counted. For God every sacrifice, every contribution to the tabernacle, His dwelling, is important. It is remembered before Him (Exo 30:1616You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.”). We too must count whether everything is still there, or whether we are not deficient in certain truths, underexposing them, while emphasizing other truths disproportionately.

The gold of the tabernacle comes from the voluntary gifts. The silver comes from those that are numbered. That means that the amount of silver is the same for everyone, because each of the numbered people has to pay a half sickle (Exo 30:11-1611The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying,12“When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, so that there will be no plague among them when you number them.13This is what everyone who is numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as a contribution to the LORD.14Everyone who is numbered, from twenty years old and over, shall give the contribution to the LORD.15The rich shall not pay more and the poor shall not pay less than the half shekel, when you give the contribution to the LORD to make atonement for yourselves.16You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.”).

The bases of the sanctuary are cast from this silver. That is, everyone is part of the house of God on the same basis. However different we may be, we all need the fundamental truths of Christ’s reconciliation work. Only faith in that work makes us part of God’s house, the church.

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