Exodus 25: This section of Exodus gives the Israelite’s the blueprint for the tabernacle and the pattern for the garments of the high priest. The tabernacle would be the center of Israel’s life because it would be there where man would approach Elohim.
The detailed narrative that tells of the construction and building of the Tabernacle can be broken up into two parts: The series of instructions (chapters 25-31), and the account of it’s construction (chapters 35-40). Chapters 32-34 give the unseemly account of the golden calf.
The Tabernacle is an oblong structure consisting of three zones. They are: 1. The Holy of Holies 2. The Holy Place 3. The Outer Court. The structure is oriented longitudinally on an East-West axis. An outer perimeter designates the sacred area. It is divided into two equal squares. The first two zones lie in one square and the Outer Court constitutes the other square.
From the Ark of the Holy of Holies, Elohim reaches out to Israel. From the Altar of Sacrifice, Israel reaches out to Elohim in obedience. Each structure is located in the exact center of it’s square.
There are seven categories of basic materials needed for the construction of the Tabernacle: Metals, dyed yarns, fabrics, timber, oil, spices, and gems. And all these things were to be acquired through donations.
Some of the fabrics required are a mixture of wool with linen. This mixed fabric is used for the lower cover of the Tabernacle, the curtain in front of the Ark, the screen for the entrance to the Tent, and the screen for the gate of the Enclosure. It also applies to the High Priest
(Exo 25:1 NASB) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
(Exo 25:2 NASB) “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution.
Exo 25:2: The people are told to give a contribution to help build the tabernacle. We are told that the people ended up giving so much to the offering that the people were told to stop (Ex. 36:3-6).
(Exo 25:3 NASB) “And this is the contribution which you are to raise from them: gold, silver and bronze,
Exo 25:3: The metals are listed in descending order of value.
(Exo 25:4 NASB) blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair,
Exo 25:4: Blue, purple, and crimson yarns are the most expensive dyed yarns of antiquity. The sequence designates their value.
The blue and purple dyes were probably produced from the murex which is a marine snail. The Phoenician coast was famous for it’s dying industry and there have been immense quantities of these snail shells that have been dated to 1500 BC. Modern attempts to recreate this process have shown that it takes thousands of these snails to get enough dye for one robe.
The scarlet dye came from the eggs of worms from the Coccidae family. This was another expensive dying process.
Fine linen was used to denote a fabric of exceptional quality.
Goats hair grows in long locks and is left undyed. The spinning of goat’s hair was the specialized skill of some Israelite women.
(Exo 25:5 NASB) rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood,
Exo 25:5: The rams skins dyed red may refer to a tanning process instead of a dying process.
The porpoise skins mentioned here is possibly not correct. The Hebrew word is tahashim and it’s meaning is uncertain. In ancient times, the tahash was a reference to the unicorn. The resemblance to the Hebrew word for porpoise (tuhas) leads many to say this is a reference to porpoise skins.
There are about 800 different species of acacia trees, but only a few have an upright trunk suitable for cutting timbers for construction. Acacia wood is very hard, durable, and lightweight.
(Exo 25:6 NASB) oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense,
Exo 25:6: The oil used was a type of olive oil. The ingredients of the spices are given in Ex. 30:23-25.
(Exo 25:7 NASB) onyx stones and setting stones, for the ephod and for the breastpiece.
Exo 25:7: Where did they get all those valuable items? We are told that when the Israelites left Egypt, they were essentially paid back wages for 400 years of slavery (Ex. 12:36-37). When they left Egypt, they left with tremendous amounts of wealth.
The tabernacle was a fairly small structure because it had to be carried through the wilderness for a long period of time, but it was very rich, beautiful, and expensive.
(Exo 25:8 NASB) “And let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.
Exo 25:8: Elohim is not going to restrict His presence to this one structure, but He would dwell there. His dwelling place would specifically be between the cherubim on the mercy seat (2 Sam. 6:2). The Mercy Seat is the lid to the Ark of the Covenant.
(Exo 25:9 NASB) “According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.
Exo 25:9: We are told here that following the instructions exactly is very important. The book of Hebrews emphasizes the importance of the details of this tabernacle because it is modeled after the tabernacle in heaven (Heb. 8:4-6, 9:23-24).
(Exo 25:10 NASB) “And they shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high.
(Exo 25:11 NASB) “And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it.
(Exo 25:12 NASB) “And you shall cast four gold rings for it, and fasten them on its four feet, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it.
(Exo 25:13 NASB) “And you shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.
Exo 25:13: The construction was based upon a unit of measurement called a cubit. A cubit is the length of a man’s forearm from the tip of his finger to his elbow. It is approximately 18 inches.
The ark and the mercy seat are the place where Elohim would meet with Israel. Notice the first article described is the ark. We are not approaching these directions from how man walks in the tabernacle and sees it. We are approaching it from how Elohim sees it and He will be seated at the Mercy Seat on the Ark of the covenant.
The ark was constructed of acacia wood. This is a very durable hardwood that could withstand the elements of the world without rotting. It is a lot like the redwood of California.
The wood construction of the ark represents Yeshua Messiah in His perfect humanity that is not susceptible to the elements of this world. Though He was tempted like us, He did not sin. We are just like cheap rotting wood, but He would endure without failing.
The wood on the ark was overlayed with gold. Gold is a very rare and valuable mineral that is highly sought after and virtually indestructible. It appears to be a foreign substance to the earth and we don’t know how the element of gold is formed. The gold overlay of the ark speaks of the Deity of Messiah.
The wooden box was covered with gold both inside and outside. Colossians 2:9 tells us “For in Him dwelleth the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Yeshua was not merely a miracle worker, but He was a manifestation of Elohim Himself as a man.
He was also human. He grew tired. He got hungry. He ate and He drank. He slept and He cried. And beyond all those things, He suffered and He died. All these are perfectly human characteristics.
(Exo 25:14 NASB) “And you shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them.
(Exo 25:15 NASB) “The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it.
Exo 25:15: The tabernacle was a structure that was carried through the wilderness for a long time and it was designed for that. It was put together when they set up camp and taken down when they moved. The structures all had rings with staves running through them so the Levites could put the staves on their shoulders and carry it.
The Mercy Seat is the lid to the Ark of the Covenant. It was considered a separate piece of furniture.
(Exo 25:16 NASB) “And you shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you.
Exo 25:16: The Commandments of Elohim were put into the ark. The Book of Hebrews tells us there were other things in there also (Heb. 9:4). It also contained a golden pot with manna and it contained Aaron’s rod that budded.
These three items all point to Yeshua Messiah in a beautiful way.
(1.) The Commandments (Word) of Elohim. Yeshua Messiah is the Living Word of Elohim. He is the Logos (Greek for “word” – John 1:1-3, 14). In the Revelation He is called the Alpha and Omega (Aleph and Tav – Rev. 21:6). He is the entire alphabet of the Word of Elohim.
(2.) A golden pot containing manna. Manna was bread supplied by Elohim for the Israelites as they wandered through the wilderness for 40 years. This speaks of Messiah as being totally sufficient to supply and meet all your needs. He called Himself the “Bread of Life” in John 6:48-51.
There was also the rod of Aaron that budded (Numbers 17:8-10). This was a miracle that the dead stick used by the High Priest, Aaron, had budded and grown beautiful blossoms. This points to the resurrection of Yeshua Messiah, our High Priest today. He was dead. Stone cold dead for three days. Then He came to life. He lived that we too might live.
These items: the ark of the covenant and it’s contents speak of Yeshua Messiah in many ways.
(Exo 25:17 NASB) “And you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold, two and a half cubits long and one and a half cubits wide.
(Exo 25:18 NASB) “And you shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat.
(Exo 25:19 NASB) “And make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends.
(Exo 25:20 NASB) “And the cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat.
Exo 25:20: The mercy seat was made entirely of gold. It was the top of the ark, but it was considered a separate piece of furniture. It had two gold cherubim, one on each end, with their wings spread covering the mercy seat. They were looking down on the top where the blood is placed. This is where Elohim dwelt. This is where the high priest would go in and pour out the blood of the sacrifice, then he would rush out again. The placing of the blood upon the seat made it the mercy seat.
In the same way, when Messiah entered the presence of His Father after His resurrection, He presented His blood to the throne of Elohim. This made the Throne of Elohim not only the judgement seat of Elohim, but the mercy seat of Elohim. Then Messiah, instead of going out the door, sat at the right hand of His Father (Hebrews 8:1-6).
(Exo 25:21 NASB) “And you shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I shall give to you.
(Exo 25:22 NASB) “And there I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.
Exo 25:22: After describing construction of the articles in the Holy of Holies Elohim will describe the articles in the outer room, the Holy Place.
(Exo 25:23 NASB) “And you shall make a table of acacia wood, two cubits long and one cubit wide and one and a half cubits high.
(Exo 25:24 NASB) “And you shall overlay it with pure gold and make a gold border around it.
Exo 25:24: The table of showbread is made of the same materials as the ark of the covenant. The table of showbread is also the same height as the ark. The almost incorruptible acacia wood speaks of the humanity of Messiah. This wood is a product of the earth, but is almost totally unaffected by deteriorating processes in the world. This speaks of Messiah in His perfect humanity. The table of showbread is covered with gold. Gold is a substance not produced by the earth and has more monetary value than maybe anything else. This speaks of Messiah and that He is not of the earth in His Deity. He is the Word of Elohim made flesh. He came in glory.
(Exo 25:25 NASB) “And you shall make for it a rim of a handbreadth around it; and you shall make a gold border for the rim around it.
(Exo 25:26 NASB) “And you shall make four gold rings for it and put rings on the four corners which are on its four feet.
(Exo 25:27 NASB) “The rings shall be close to the rim as holders for the poles to carry the table.
(Exo 25:28 NASB) “And you shall make the poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold, so that with them the table may be carried.
Exo 25:28: This too had rings and staves to be transported by the priests.
(Exo 25:29 NASB) “And you shall make its dishes and its pans and its jars and its bowls, with which to pour libations; you shall make them of pure gold.
(Exo 25:30 NASB) “And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before Me at all times.
Exo 25:30: On the table were placed twelve loaves of bread. The bread was changed each Sabbath. The bread which was removed was eaten with wine by the priestly family in the Holy Place.
Yeshua Messiah is the showbread for believers to take part of and have eternal life (John 6:30-36).
There is a saying that has been around for many years, “you are what you eat.” We know this to essentially be true. If we feed ourselves with the things of this world, we will grow farther away from Elohim. We should be feeding on The Messiah and growing closer to Him.
(Exo 25:31 NASB) “Then you shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand and its base and its shaft are to be made of hammered work; its cups, its bulbs and its flowers shall be of one piece with it.
(Exo 25:32 NASB) “And six branches shall go out from its sides; three branches of the lampstand from its one side, and three branches of the lampstand from its other side.
(Exo 25:33 NASB) “Three cups shall be shaped like almond blossoms in the one branch, a bulb and a flower, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms in the other branch, a bulb and a flower– so for six branches going out from the lampstand;
(Exo 25:34 NASB) and in the lampstand four cups shaped like almond blossoms, its bulbs and its flowers.
(Exo 25:35 NASB) “And a bulb shall be under the first pair of branches coming out of it, and a bulb under the second pair of branches coming out of it, and a bulb under the third pair of branches coming out of it, for the six branches coming out of the lampstand.
(Exo 25:36 NASB) “Their bulbs and their branches shall be of one piece with it; all of it shall be one piece of hammered work of pure gold.
(Exo 25:37 NASB) “Then you shall make its lamps seven in number; and they shall mount its lamps so as to shed light on the space in front of it.
(Exo 25:38 NASB) “And its snuffers and their trays shall be of pure gold.
(Exo 25:39 NASB) “It shall be made from a talent of pure gold, with all these utensils.
(Exo 25:40 NASB) “And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which was shown to you on the mountain.
Exo 25:40: The lampstand is probably the most wonderful illustration of Messiah found in the tabernacle. It is made of pure gold and speaks of His Deity. He is the Word of Elohim. Worship of Elohim has to do with walking in the light. We must see this.
The table of showbread speaks of the fact that we must feed on Messiah in our lives in order to grow. Yeshua is the light we need to walk in (John 1:6-9). Yeshua is the Light of the World (John 8:12). Yeshua had no darkness in Him whatsoever (1 John 1:5-7).
In the same way that these things are a pattern of the things in heaven, we are to pattern ourselves after Messiah and after Elohim Himself (Lev. 11:44-47).
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas