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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Exodus 37

Verses 1-9

The Ark, the Mercy Seat and the Cherubim

After the house is made, the objects that will be placed in the house are made. First the ark is made, followed immediately by the mercy seat with the two cherubim. When the author of the letter to the Hebrews talks about the ark, he describes its glory by mentioning that it was “covered on all sides with gold” (Hebrews 9:4). In that verse he mentions even more glorious things in connection with the ark, namely “a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded” (Hebrews 9:4; Exodus 16:33; Numbers 17:8-2 Samuel :). He also speaks of the cherubim as “the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat” (Hebrews 9:5).

The ark and the mercy seat and the cherubim speak of the glory of Christ and His work. By His work we can think of His work on the cross for reconciliation, in which all God’s holy demands are met, and of His work now in heaven for His people. The mercy seat has become for us “the throne of grace”, to which we may approach with boldness, “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

The ark, with the mercy seat upon it, is the only object in the holy of holies. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews calls the ark “the ark of the covenant” (Hebrews 9:4). With this he refers back to the ark as the meeting place between God and the people under the old covenant. His whole teaching in the letter is aimed at placing Christ at the center, the heart of the new covenant, in direct contrast to this center of the old covenant.

See also Exodus 25:10-22.

Verses 10-16

The Table and Its Utensils

After the ark follows the making of the table for the sacred bread. The bread is not mentioned here. This puts the emphasis on what the table proposes. A table speaks of community. Through the work of the Lord Jesus, fellowship is possible with God and with each other.

The table is as high as the ark. This teaches us that our fellowship is at the level of the Person and the work of Christ. Our fellowship as believers of the church consists of Him. Through Him and His work we are connected to each other. He is the characteristic of our fellowship. For we are called by God “to the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).

See also Exodus 25:23-30.

Verses 17-24

The Golden Lampstand and Its Utensils

After the table that is made as the first object in the holy place, the lampstand is made. This indicates that our fellowship with God and Christ and with one another can only take place in the light: “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Just as cups are connected to the lampstand as fruit, so too is fruit connected to the walk in the light. Our walk in the light, “as children of Light” (Ephesians 5:8), will produce the fruit of light: “For the fruit of Light [consists] in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:9).

See also Exodus 25:31-40.

Verses 25-28

The Golden Altar of Incense

The third object in the holy place is the golden altar of incense. It is remarkable that God’s Spirit leads the author of the letter to the Hebrews to say that this altar stands in the holy of holies (Hebrews 9:3-Numbers :). This indicates that the actual function of this altar belongs to the holy of holies.

The altar represents worship. Aaron can enter the sanctuary surrounded by the incense of this altar, because otherwise he will die: “He shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the mercy seat that is on [the ark of] the testimony, otherwise he will die” (Leviticus 16:13). For us it means that we can go into the inner sanctuary to worship the Father for Who He is and for Who His Son is through the fragrant scent that Christ is for God.

See also Exodus 30:1-10.

Verse 29

The Anointing Oil and the Incense

To make the holy anointing oil and the pure, fragrant incense of spices, special qualities are necessary, as are only present in a perfumer. In the perfumer we can see a picture of the Holy Spirit, Who is only able to give what is necessary to perform our service in the house of God, so that that service rises to God as a purely fragrant incense of spices.

The Lord Jesus is “anointed … with the Holy Spirit and with power, and [how] He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). Throughout His life He was led by the Holy Spirit and all the powerful deeds He did spread a pleasant fragrance. All this was one glorious sacrifice for God.

See also Exodus 30:22-38.

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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Exodus 37". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/exodus-37.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.