1 - 7 The Altar of Burnt Offering
1 Then he made the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood, five cubits long, and five cubits wide, square, and three cubits high. 2 He made its horns on its four corners, its horns being [of one piece] with it, and he overlaid it with bronze. 3 He made all the utensils of the altar, the pails and the shovels and the basins, the flesh hooks and the firepans; he made all its utensils of bronze. 4 He made for the altar a grating of bronze network beneath, under its ledge, reaching halfway up. 5 He cast four rings on the four ends of the bronze grating [as] holders for the poles. 6 He made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with bronze. 7 He inserted the poles into the rings on the sides of the altar, with which to carry it. He made it hollow with planks.
After the actual building and the objects that go with it, the objects that are in front of the building are made. First the altar of burnt offering is made. At this altar the sacrifices are brought which the Israelite voluntarily bring to the LORD and also the sacrifices which he is obliged to bring in certain cases. The sacrificial service at this altar is discussed in detail in the next book, Leviticus.
This altar is the meeting place where God meets His people. The basis is the continual burnt offering that is brought on it (Exo 29:38-45). In the letter to the Hebrews it is made clear that this altar and the sacrifice thereon have been fulfilled in Christ. Whoever still clings to this literal altar today has no part in the Christian fellowship (Heb 13:10).
See also Exodus 27:1-8.
8 The Bronze Laver
8 Moreover, he made the laver of bronze with its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
Here it is mentioned as a special feature that women gave the material for the laver in the form of their mirrors. That, in which they look at themselves and through which their pride is caressed, is handed in to make it the laver. It has cost something to give up this important tool for them. Someone only does that if she gets something better in return. And so it is here.
The laver represents the Word of God. This is also compared with a mirror (Jam 1:23-25). The women’s mirror gives a complete picture of who is looking into it, but is not a means to change the wrong thing. The mirror of the Word of God also gives a complete picture of who looks at himself in it, but it does give a means to change. Whoever sees himself as a sinner also reads how forgiveness and acceptation by God can take place.
Women on various occasions give an essential contribution to the work of God. They
1. serve the Lord with their goods (Lk 8:1-3);
2. sit at His feet (Lk 10:39);
3. anoint him (Lk 7:37.38; Jn 12:3);
4. are by the cross (Jn 19:25);
5. are by the tomb and by His resurrection (Mt 28:1-6);
6. see Him first after His resurrection (Mt 28:7-9);
7. are His messengers (Mt 28:10; Jn 20:16-18);
8. are the first to accept the gospel in Philippi (Acts 16:13-15);
9. form, with others, the core of the church (Acts 1:14).
See also Exodus 30:17-21.
9 - 17 The Hangings and Their Pillars
9 Then he made the court: for the south side the hangings of the court were of fine twisted linen, one hundred cubits; 10 their twenty pillars, and their twenty sockets, [made] of bronze; the hooks of the pillars and their bands [were] of silver. 11 For the north side [there were] one hundred cubits; their twenty pillars and their twenty sockets [were] of bronze, the hooks of the pillars and their bands [were] of silver. 12 For the west side [there were] hangings of fifty cubits [with] their ten pillars and their ten sockets; the hooks of the pillars and their bands [were] of silver. 13 For the east side fifty cubits. 14 The hangings for the [one] side [of the gate were] fifteen cubits, [with] their three pillars and their three sockets, 15 and so for the other side. On both sides of the gate of the court [were] hangings of fifteen cubits, [with] their three pillars and their three sockets. 16 All the hangings of the court all around [were] of fine twisted linen. 17 The sockets for the pillars [were] of bronze, the hooks of the pillars and their bands, of silver; and the overlaying of their tops, of silver, and all the pillars of the court were furnished with silver bands.
The building and the objects in front of it are surrounded on the south side, the north side, the west side and part of the east side by linen rugs held up by pillars. From the east side means that it is the side “where the sun rises”. The sun rises nowhere else but in the east. By mentioning this in this way can only mean that the attention is focused on the rising sun.
That reminds us of the Lord Jesus. Zachariah, in his hymn of praise, speaks of Him as “the Sunrise from on high” (Lk 1:78). In the future “the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple” (Mal 3:1) and “the sun of righteousness will rise” (Mal 4:2).
See also Exodus 27:9-15,17,18.
18 - 19 The Screen of the Gate
18 The screen of the gate of the court was the work of the weaver, of blue and purple and scarlet [material] and fine twisted linen. And the length [was] twenty cubits and the height [was] five cubits, corresponding to the hangings of the court. 19 Their four pillars and their four sockets [were] of bronze; their hooks [were] of silver, and the overlaying of their tops and their bands [were] of silver.
The remaining part of the hangings on the east side is different from the rest. It is a screen in front of the gate of the court and is colored. Only through this gate someone can he enter.
See also Exodus 27:16.
20 The Bronze Pegs
20 All the pegs of the tabernacle and of the court all around [were] of bronze.
Pillars have their place in the tabernacle, but also tent pegs. Pillars are impressive, while tent pegs seem insignificant. However, both are needed. In the church are men like “James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars” (Gal 2:9). However, there are also countless men and women whose names we do not know, but who are known to God. All are needed. Without pillars there can be no building; without pegs the pillars will not remain standing.
See also Exodus 27:19.
21 - 31 The Costs of the Tabernacle
21 This is the number of the things for the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony, as they were numbered according to the command of Moses, for the service of the Levites, by the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. 22 Now Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made all that the LORD had commanded Moses. 23 With him [was] Oholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, an engraver and a skillful workman and a weaver in blue and in purple and in scarlet [material], and fine linen. 24 All the gold that was used for the work, in all the work of the sanctuary, even the gold of the wave offering, was 29 talents and 730 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. 25 The silver of those of the congregation who were numbered was 100 talents and 1,775 shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary; 26 a beka a head ([that is], half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary), for each one who passed over to those who were numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for 603,550 men. 27 The hundred talents of silver were for casting the sockets of the sanctuary and the sockets of the veil; one hundred sockets for the hundred talents, a talent for a socket. 28 Of the 1,775 [shekels], he made hooks for the pillars and overlaid their tops and made bands for them. 29 The bronze of the wave offering was 70 talents and 2,400 shekels. 30 With it he made the sockets to the doorway of the tent of meeting, and the bronze altar and its bronze grating, and all the utensils of the altar, 31 and the sockets of the court all around and the sockets of the gate of the court, and all the pegs of the tabernacle and all the pegs of the court all around.
Everything is counted. For God every sacrifice, every contribution to the tabernacle, His dwelling, is important. It is remembered before Him (Exo 30:16). We too must count whether everything is still there, or whether we are not deficient in certain truths, underexpose them, while emphasizing other truths disproportionately.
The gold of the tabernacle comes from the voluntary gifts. The silver comes from the numbered ones. That means that the amount of silver is the same for everyone, because each of the numbered people has to pay a half sickle (Exo 30:11-16).
From this silver the bases of the sanctuary are cast. That is, everyone is part of the house of God on the same basis. However different we may be, we all need the fundamental truths of Christ’s reconciliation work. Only faith in it makes us part of God’s house, the church.