In response to the call of God, Bezaleel and Aholiab and other capable artisans presented themselves willingly for this work (vs.1-2). Then Moses gave into their hand the offerings the children of Israel had brought and were still bringing for some time. But as is always the case when the grace of God works effectively in hearts, the people's sacrifices were much greater than was necessary for the project (vs.4-5). Moses therefore commanded a proclamation to be made throughout the camp. that the people should give no more (v.6).
MAKING OF THE CURTAINS
The curtains (or coverings) of the tabernacle are spoken of as being first made. All of these speak of Christ in some way. First the ten curtains if fine linen speak of the purity of His Humanity. The interwoven blue speaks of His heavenly glory, the purple, of His kingly dignity, the scarlet, of His world-wide attracting character. Also cherubim were woven into these, symbolizing governmental authority. This was the first covering, and therefore visible on the inside at the top. Each of the ten curtains was four cubits wide and 28 cubits long. They formed two groups of five, coupled to one another by means of loops of blue, indicating a heavenly unity in the person of the Lord. Clasps of gold were also used to fasten the loops. The gold reminds us of the divine glory of the Lord Jesus.
Above the attractively colored curtains were the curtains of goats' hair (v.14), not ten, but eleven, which would enable the joined edges to be removed from the edges of the first curtains, which they covered. The length of these curtains was thirty cubits, so that they would extend at the bottom one cubit lower than the first curtains These curtains were divided into two groups of six and five. Forty loops were made to attach to the edge of each curtain on both sides, and fifty copper clasps were used to secure them together. These curtains of goats' hair speak of Christ as the substitutionary sacrifice for His people, and copper speaks of the holiness of this sacrifice.
Then the covering of rams' skins dyed red was made to be placed above the other two coverings. These red ram skins speak of the redeeming power of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. The details of these are not mentioned, nor of the covering of badger skins (or seal skins) that was seen when the tabernacle was set up. This speaks of Christ as the One in whom, when people first saw Him, "there is no beauty" (Isaiah 53:2), a contrast indeed to the beauty seen from the inside of the tabernacle, and seen in Christ by those who have been brought near to Him.
The boards, to stand upright, were ten cubits long (or high) and one and a half cubits wide. On the sides (both north and south) were twenty boards each, with two sockets of silver underneath to support the boards. On the west end six boards were placed, but added to these were two more at the corners.
The boards were of acacia wood overlaid with gold. The acacia wood symbolizes humanity and the gold, divine glory. But since the boards stood on silver sockets, speaking of redemption, they do not speak of Christ, but of believers who are identified with Christ in His humanity and also partake by grace of His divine nature, as He Himself says to the Father, "the glory which You gave Me I have given them" (John 17:22). Thus we are partakers, not of deity, but of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
Each board had two tenons which were inserted into the sockets. Then five bars were made of acacia wood covered with gold for each side of the tabernacle, north, south and west. The middle bar stretched the full distance of each side, while four bars were only half the length, so that two were placed above the middle long bar, and two beneath it, each of the two being end to end, to cover the whole distance. They passed through gold rings that were in each of the boards. This emphasizes the unity together of believers to form one house.
THE VEIL AND THE ENTRY CURTAIN
The veil that separated the holy and the most holy place was woven of fine linen and blue, purple and scarlet, with a design of cherubim included. The veil does not speak of believers in any way, but of Christ, as Hebrews 10:20 tells us, "the veil, that is to say, His flesh." This involves the perfections of the Lord's Manhood, not His deity, for no gold was seen in the veil. Thus, when the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom (Mt 28:51) there was no question of the Lord's deity being involved, but the tearing of the veil signifies the death of the Lord as the Man Christ Jesus, by which alone the way into the holiest is opened for us.
Again, the fine linen speaks of the purity of the Lord's Manhood; the blue speaks of His heavenly character; the purple, of His royal dignity; and scarlet, of its universal attraction. But the four pillars of acacia wood overlain with gold, by which the veil was upheld, were set on sockets of silver, therefore signifying believers on the foundation of redemption, but upholding Christ as the only way of access to God.
The door curtain was made of the same materials, therefore speaking of Christ, the door of access even into the elementary truths of the Word of God. This was upheld by similar pillars, five in number, but resting on copper sockets, thus emphasizing the holiness of God, so that these pillars do not signify believers, but the principle of holiness which is imperative to be maintained in any approach to God.
The length of the ark was two and one half cubits, the number two inferring its clear witness for God, while the additional half suggests the truth "the half was not told me" (1 Kings 10:7), therefore indicating that the person of Christ is infinitely greater than our understanding. The width, one and a half cubits, infers the unity of His person (number one). but again having glory above all our knowledge (the half). The height was the same with the same significance.
Two rings were put on each side of the ark, through which the carrying poles (also of acacia wood covered with gold) were inserted, for it was to be carried by priests, not on a vehicle. Today all believers are priests, and are expected to bear the Lord Jesus in testimony before the world.
The mercy seat was typically the throne of God, but called a mercy seat because when the blood of the sin offering was sprinkled on it and before it, the throne became the very place from which God dispensed His mercy to Israel, -- thus mercy being beautifully blended with His authority. The cherubim are symbolical of the principle of divine righteousness in government, the two of these indicating its even balance.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Exodus 36". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany