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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 25

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-40

Chapter 25

Now it is interesting as God gives to him the design, He starts not with the tabernacle itself but with the furnishings within the tabernacle. So in chapter twenty-five, we begin with the materials that were, the things that were made that were to be used in the tabernacle.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: every man that giveth it willingly with his heart shall take my offering. And this is the offering which you shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, goats' [hair], And rams' skins dyed red, badger's skins, and acacia wood, Oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil, and for a sweet incense, Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and the breastplate. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it ( Exodus 25:1-9 ).

So the people were to make an offering, but what was the requirement? They were to bring it willingly. What does the New Testament say about our giving? That, "It should be every man as he has purposed in his own heart, so let him give, for the Lord loves a hilarious giver"( 2 Corinthians 9:7 ). The giving is never to be by constraint, never to be by pressure, never to be by deceitful letters. Man, that upset me. Why? Because God never wants to hear you gripe over what you've given to Him. That's the last thing God wants is to hear you gripe over what you've given.

Now if someone's pressuring you to give, and you're giving not from your heart, but because someone's really laying the pressure on you, you're apt then to later regret what you've pledged or what you've given. When you get the little notice, "Your pledge is due. We haven't heard from you in a month or so, and your pledge, and the church is depending upon getting your pledge", and you think, "Oh, I got to write a check. Ooh." You're angry with it; man, that upsets God.

He said, "Keep it, I don't want it." He doesn't want you to grudge what you've given to Him. That's horrible to give unto God grudgingly, or to give unto God out of constraint. He'd rather you keep it. If you can't give hilariously, then don't give. Because if you're gonna gripe about it, He's just gonna erase the amount anyhow and you'll never get rewarded for it. God isn't gonna take into account the grudging money or the griping money that you've given to Him. So if you can't do it hilariously, forget it. Better not to give at all. You'd be much better off not to give at all then to give and later gripe about it.

Some guy the other day, he wrote me a letter and he said he was here and he was upset because of the fact that he went out to have a smoke. And the ushers wouldn't let him back in at the end of the sermon where he wanted to come down and sit with his girl again down on the front row. So he was really upset because they wouldn't let him back in and all.

He said, "I put two dollars in the offering and then they wouldn't let me out." So I sent him a couple bucks and I said, "Sorry about that". It's not about the fact they wouldn't let him in; I was sorry that he had such a bad attitude. I told him the story for the attitude that he had, the fact that he was so upset, didn't want the two bucks, God surely doesn't need it. If he's upset because he gave it, man, better to give it back. If you've given money here and you're upset about what you've given, maybe I said something to upset you and you're griping, that's all right. Come to me, and we'll get your money back. We don't want any griping money for God's kingdom. God doesn't want it and we don't. It's a horrible thing to give to God and then gripe about what you've given.

I hate people who say, "Well, I'll be glad to come over and help you." Then they gripe the whole time. Or they offer to give you something and then you go to take them up on it, and they start griping about it. Man, if you don't mean it, don't offer it. I can't stand to have someone give me something and then later gripe about the fact that they gave it. Whenever I find that out, I return it just as quickly as I can. I don't want it, and God doesn't want it. God loves a hilarious giver. Oh, how God rejoices when you give. "Thank you Lord for the opportunity. "Wee. Take this Lord. It's all Yours." Giving hilariously, oh God rejoices in that, God blesses that. If you can't give that way, then don't do it.

Now first of all He tells him about the ark that is to be in the Holy of holies, the center place of the tabernacle. The place where they're gonna meet God.

Now notice God says to, "make it after the pattern that I give to you according to all that I show you. Be careful that you make it after the pattern." Why? Because the tabernacle is a little model, it's a model of heaven. If you want to know what heaven looks like and get an idea of heaven, you can look at the tabernacle because it is a model of the heavenly thing. So God had them build a little model on earth of what heaven, the throne of God looks like so that the people will have an idea of what God's throne is like and the place of meeting God. So this is a little model. That's why, "be careful you make it exactly like you were told."

That's why they were to carve the cherubim, because there are cherubim there above the throne of God in heaven. There is the mercy seat before the throne of God.

Now the first thing they were to make was the ark of the covenant. It was to be made with acacia wood and overlaid with gold. It was to be forty-five inches long, and twenty-seven inches wide, and twenty-seven inches tall, sort of a box. Now the lid on the box was called the mercy seat.

First of all, though, this little box called the ark of the covenant, and within the box they were to place the two tables of stone upon which God etched the Ten Commandments. They were to place a jar of manna by which God sustained them in the wilderness, and they were to place Aaron's rod, the sign of the priesthood being through Aaron, the rod that budded. Those were the three articles that were to go inside of this little box.

The lid on the box was called the mercy seat. It also was to be made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. Then carved on either end of the mercy seat were to be these cherubim carved of solid gold, and facing each other with outstretched wings and so forth. There the cherubims on the lid of the box, which is the ark of the covenant; and thus, you have a picture of the mercy seat in heaven and the cherubim who are about the throne of God worshiping the Lord. You can read Ezekiel chapter one, Ezekiel chapter ten, and John, or the book of Revelation actually, written by John, chapter four to see the heavenly scene of which this earthly tabernacle is just a model of the heavenly scene.

So these were the only furnishings to be in the holy of Holies, a fifteen-foot cubicle that was within this tent that they were to make. Verse twenty-three, the second furniture that they were to make, the second bit of furniture was a table for the shewbread.

Now this table was to be thirty six inches long and eighteen inches wide, and twenty seven inches tall with a little crown gold ornamentation around the top of the table. It again was to be made with acacia wood, and overlaid with gold ( Exodus 25:23-24 ).

This table was to be a part of the furniture in the outer room. Now as you came into the tent you had first of all, a room that was fifteen by thirty, which was called the holy place. It was separated with a curtain from this fifteen-foot cubicle which was the holy of Holies. No one was allowed in the holy of Holies, except the high priest, and that just one day a year.

Now this little table that they were to make, actually the little box they were to make, they were to put gold rings on each corner, and then they were to take these sticks and overlay them with gold, and run them through the rings. So that whenever they would move and have to carry this ark, that the fellows would not touch it, but they would pick up the sticks and carry the sticks. It would be carried between four men who were carrying these gold overlaid sticks that ran through these four gold rings that were on the corners of the ark of the covenant.

Now the same with this table of shewbread. They were also to put the gold rings on it, so that the fellows and the staves, the sticks that were overlaid with gold stayed through these rings. So that whenever they carried it, they'd just pick up the sticks and wouldn't actually touch the table.

Now this table was to have twelve loaves of bread upon it always, and once a week they would change the loaves of bread. These twelve loaves of bread represented actually the twelve tribes of Israel. There when you would, when the priest would enter this little outer room called the holy place, fifteen by thirty, on his right-hand side there would be this little gold overlaid table, thirty-six inches long, eighteen inches wide, twenty-seven inches high, with the twelve loaves of bread upon it. So he gives the whole thing that we've explained to you.

Then on his left-hand side as he would enter in, there was this golden candlestick made of pure gold,

and it was of beaten work, and it had the center shaft, the coming off of it six branches ( Exodus 25:31 ),

Now this is somewhat similar to this, except this thing's brass and it is no doubt not as thick as the one that is made of pure gold, but the idea. However, instead of candles in the cups, these cups, and they were carved more fancy than this, the cups themselves were to be carved like an almond, an overlaid kind of a thing in the shape of an almond. These cups were filled with oil and a wick in them. This candlestick was to be kept burning continually.

So one of the jobs of the priests was daily to fill these cups with oil, to make sure that the candlestick remained burning constantly. It was the light in this tent. It formed the light within the tent, but it really was a symbol of God's desire for the nation Israel to be the light of the world.

So as the priest would enter into the tent, on his right-hand side this table with twelve loaves of bread, golden table. On his left-hand side this candlestick, with these seven golden cups filled with oil and so forth, representing the fact that God intended Israel to be the light of the world.

Now you may ask, "As long as it's a symbol of the tabernacle and Israel to be the light of the world, why do we have it in our church? Why don't we have crosses or something here instead of the candleholder?" Well, the reason why we have a candleholder here in the church is that the candleholder in the New Testament became a symbol for the presence of Christ within His church.

In Revelation chapter one, "John turned to see the voice and spake with Him, and being turned he saw Christ walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, holding the seven stars in His right hand. And the Lord spoke unto John and said, interpreting for him the vision, He said, "The seven candlesticks are the seven churches, Christ walking in the midst of the churches" ( Revelation 1:20 ). So it is a beautiful symbol of the presence of Christ in the midst of His church, the living Christ.

Though we are grateful and thankful and glory in the cross of Jesus Christ, and thank God for it, we do not serve a dead Lord. We serve a risen Savior who is alive and walking in the midst of His church. We don't like to think of Him as dead, hanging on a cross. We like to think of Him as alive and present with us walking here in our midst in the church, ready to minister, and to meet whatever needs you might have when you came to church tonight. The risen Lord is here to minister to you and to help you through this week.

So it symbolizes the presence of the risen Christ within His church. This is why we have this particular symbol in our church, because it means so much to us. I've been asked many times, "Why a menorah in a church?" and that is the reason why. So again in verse forty, the Lord said,

Look that thou make them after the pattern, which was shewed thee ( Exodus 25:40 )

So again the emphasis, "Make it just like you saw it because it has to be an exact thing if it's going to be a model of the heavenly." In Hebrews we are told that, "The earthly tabernacle was indeed a pattern of heavenly things." So we know a little bit what the throne of God is going to look like as we look at the earthly tabernacle and the things that were in it.

We may move a little faster through the remaining part of Exodus, as we will attempt to more or less just give you an overview now rather than thoroughly going into these things, trying to give you a word picture and an overview of these things. It gets a little tedious and a little redundant because it first of all says, "Make it like this", and then He turns around in the next few chapters, "and they made it like this", and they repeat the same thing, only saying "they made it like that", and it gets a little redundant. So rather than getting bogged down, we'll probably move a little more rapidly and just give you a word picture overview so that you can perhaps sort of picture it in your own mind, as you think of the tabernacle.

You can get a picture of this tent with the two rooms, the first one thirty by fifteen, the golden table of shewbread on the right hand side, the candlestick on the left-hand side, and then the altar in the front of the curtain. Behind the curtain the fifteen-foot cubicle with this gold overlaid box with a lid, which is called the mercy seat. With the two carved cherubim on the top where only the high priest would go on the one day in a year, Yom Kippur to make atonement for the nation for their sins once a year. So we'll move along a little more rapidly as we finish off the book of Exodus, and pausing only at those places that we feel are significant to us as Christians.

Shall we stand? Now may the Lord be with you, and may the Lord watch over you and keep you in His love, and in His grace. May the Lord cause you to abound in every good work for Jesus Christ. May the Lord grant to you new dimensions of relationship with Him that you might become more keenly aware of His presence with you, and His power to help you. May God bless you, may you have just a fruitful, blessed week walking with Jesus Christ. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Exodus 25". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/exodus-25.html. 2014.
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