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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 40

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-38

7. The Tabernacle Set Up, the Finished Work and the Glory


1. Jehovah gives the directions (Exodus 40:1-15 )

2. Moses’ obedience (Exodus 40:16 )

3. The tabernacle set up (Exodus 40:17-19 )

4. The ark brought in (Exodus 40:20-21 )

5. The furniture placed and the offerings brought (Exodus 40:22-29 )

6. The laver and the court (Exodus 40:30-33 )

7. The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38 )

While the people had offered and the chosen workmen labored in the production of the tabernacle, the Lord had not spoken. He looked upon His people as they carried out His commands. But after Moses had blessed them, then the Lord spoke and commanded the setting up of the tabernacle on the first day of the first month. He directs the placing of the different pieces of furniture. The table with the shewbread was to be arranged, water to be put into the laver, the anointing of all was to follow, the priests to be washed, clothed and anointed. All was carried out again. Moses did according to all the Lord commanded him. The building of the tabernacle and all the work connected with it occupied not quite six months. The tabernacle was reared in the first month in the second year on the first day of the month. The setting up began with the sockets, in which the boards were placed. The testimony was put into the ark (the tables of stone). Then after the ark had been brought in, Moses hung the curtain. The holy part of the tabernacle was next arranged. The table was placed on the right side towards the north, and the shewbread was laid upon it. Of all this we shall read in Leviticus, where the typical meaning will be pointed out. The altar of burnt offerings was placed before the door of the dwelling of the tabernacle and the laver between the tabernacle and the altar. Moses burned sweet incense and offered the burnt offering and meat offering. When Moses had looked upon all that had been done, he was well pleased and blessed the people (39:43). When Jehovah looked upon the finished work and saw that all was according to His heart, He was well pleased. His approval as witnessed to by the cloud, which covered the tabernacle, and His glory filled the place, e entered in to take possession of it. Moses had to stand back; He could no longer go into the place where Jehovah dwelt.

While here the cloud covered all and the glory filled the whole place, later the cloud drew back into the most holy place to dwell above the outspread wings of the cherubim, Moses and the priests could then enter the holy place without coming in touch with the sign of Jehovah’s presence, which was hidden from human gaze by the curtain of the holy of holies.

As long as the cloud rested upon the tabernacle the children of Israel remained in camp; when it moved, they continued their journey. This had a blessed meaning for the people of God and has its lessons for us. The cloud in its movements made known Jehovah’s will. We have no such external sign to declare the will of God to us. We have the internal presence of the Holy Spirit. And He guides us through His Word, which we must consult for direction and guidance. All this we shall find fully stated in Numbers 9:15-23 ; when we reach that “wilderness book” we hope to point out some of its lessons.

We state once more the fact that Exodus begins with a groan and the first part ends with the song of redemption. The second part begins with Israel ‘s wilderness wandering and ends after the work was finished with the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle. The Lord Jesus Christ and His Word is foreshadowed in the entire book. Glory is the great goal of all He has done. He has reached down and set the miserable slaves of sin and Satan free; He changes our groans into songs of victory, because He, the Lamb of God, shed His blood. He guides His people home. Glory will yet cover Zion , the place of His rest. In the day of His glorious manifestation, when He appears in glory and majesty as the King of Kings, the glory cloud will be seen again in the midst of the redeemed Israel (Isaiah 4:4-6 ). And in all eternity, the ages to come, His glory will be with the redeemed and the redeemed will share His glory.

“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4 ).

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Exodus 40". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/exodus-40.html. 1913-1922.
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