THE TABERNACLE REARED UP
verses 9-16, we have the anointing of the Tabernacle and all therein,
its vessels, the altar, and layer. Also the clothing and anointing of
Aaron and his sons; but as we have had this subject previously, we now
proceed at verse 17.
THE PERIOD WHEN THE TABERNACLE WAS REARED.
17. "And it came to pass in the first month in the second year, on the
first day of the month, that the tabernacle was reared up."
The first day of
the second year of Israel's experience as a redeemed people, was an
important period in their history. On this day the Tabernacle was set
On the day of the SECOND
month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of
Egypt, the commandment was given for the numbering of the children of
Israel from twenty years old and upward; all that were able to go forth
to war in Israel (Numbers 1.1, 2).
And on the day that
Moses had FULLY SET up the Tabernacle, and anointed it and sanctified
it, and all the vessels thereof, the princes of Israel that were over
them that were numbered, presented their offering to Jehovah of six
covered wagons, twelve oxen, with twelve silver chargers, and spoons of
gold full of incense, with the ascending offerings, sin offerings, and
peace offerings, and twelve days were occupied with the presentation
During the FIRST
year the lessons of the wilderness were learnt: What the wilderness
was; what the flesh was, both under grace (Ex. 19.4-6), and under law;
and what God was in the various manifestations of His character.
With the SECOND
year, Israel's experience in connection with the Tabernacle commences,
and to this period the books of Leviticus and Numbers apply.
The FIRST year is
typical of the Christian's individual experience; the SECOND, of his
experience in connection with the Church of God, and in association
with others professing Christianity.
THE TABERNACLE SET UP.
"And Moses reared up the Tabernacle."
The Tabernacle is
first mentioned before the tent of the congregation; for the first
thought in the mind of the Spirit is a habitation for God, before that
which represents the assembly of God's saints is spoken of.
fastened his sockets." The sockets of silver composed of the redemption
money of the children of Israel. Thus, typically, the foundations of
God's Tabernacle are laid in redemption.
set up the boards thereof." Typical of those believers who are gathered
together to the confession of the name of Jesus, individually, standing
firm on redemption, and collectively forming God's Tabernacle or
dwelling-place (Eph. 2.22).
put in the bars thereof." For the compacting and establishment of the
whole. Like the joints and bands, the gifts of the Spirit for the
edifying of the Body of Christ (Eph. 4.).
"And reared up his
pillars." The four pillars which held up the vail, corresponding with
the four inspired historians of the life and death of Jesus; and the
five pillars which supported the hanging of the door; answering to the
apostles and prophets, the evangelists, pastors, and teachers, who
exhibit Jesus as the way of entrance into the Tabernacle of God. And
thus the Church becomes not only the house of God, and Church of the
living God, but also the pillar and ground of the truth, for the
manifestation and maintenance of the truth of God in the world.
THE TENT OF THE CONGREGATION SPREAD.
19. "And he spread abroad the tent over the Tabernacle, and put the
covering of the tent above upon it; as Jehovah commanded Moses."
The tent over the
Tabernacle, or the tent of the Congregation, represents the assembly of
believers, meeting in the Name of Jesus, who, in Spirit also, compose
the habitation of God.
covering of the tent was twofold. First, the covering of Ram's skins
dyed red, typical of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus, under the
shelter of which the Church is seen by God.
the covering of badger's skins, above and over all, significant of the
external lowly form and pilgrim character of the Church on earth. All
done according to the Will and Word of God.
The Overshadowing Cloud and the indwelling Glory.
Exodus 11. 34, 35.
MOSES having set up
the ARK in the most holy place, and brought the ALTAR OF INCENSE, the
LAMP-STAND, and the TABLE into the sanctuary or holy place; and having
reared up the COURT, and brought in the LAVER, and the BRAZEN ALTAR,
"as Jehovah commanded Moses."
Verse 34. "Then the
cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of Jehovah
filled the Tabernacle."
The EXTERNAL and
INTERNAL manifestation of the Divine presence, protection and glory;
Divine and almighty protection above, and Divine glory within. For "he
that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under
the shadow of the Almighty." God Himself is "a wall of fire round about
His people, and the glory in the midst." "The Spirit of glory and of
God resteth upon them." "The eternal God is their refuge, and
underneath are the everlasting arms."
cloud and this indwelling glory was a prefiguring of what took place at
Pentecost, when the Church of God first commenced its history and its
course, and when believers were first builded together for a habitation
of God, through the Spirit.
"And when the day
of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one
place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing
mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And
there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat
upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,
and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them
utterance." See also the inspired prayer of the Apostle in Eph.3., that
being strengthened by God's Spirit in the inner man, Christ dwelling in
the heart by faith, believers might be filled into all the fulness of
God. Seven times the Word of God testified that Moses had done each
particular as Jehovah commanded. Then, and not till then, the cloud
covered the tent, and the glory filled the Tabernacle.
There is a
principle of the utmost importance which throws a Divine light on many
a perplexing question. Jude said unto the Lord, "How is it that Thou
wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered
and said unto him, If a man love Me he will keep My Words: and My
Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode
with him" (John 14. 22, 23).
So when Solomon had
finished the house of Jehovah, according to the Divine will and
pattern, then "the cloud filled the house of Jehovah, so that the
priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory
of Jehovah had filled the house of Jehovah" (1 Kings 8.10,11).
of the future blessing to Israel, when "Jehovah will create upon every
dwelling-place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and
smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all
the glory shall be a defence" (Isaiah 4.5).
Ezekiel, who saw in
a vision the glory taking its gradual departure from the first Temple
(Ezek. 10, 11), afterwards also in a vision saw the glory returning to
the millennial Temple. "And, behold, the glory of Jehovah filled the
house of Jehovah" (Ezekiel 44.4).
John, in the
apocalyptic vision of the Church's future blessedness, as the Bride of
the Lamb, saw that great city, the holy Jerusalem, but "saw no Temple
therein, for Jehovah, God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in
it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the lamp
thereof" (Rev. 21.22,23).
There no Temple rose before him,
There no glory shone above;
All was Temple, all was glory,
All in all was God and love.
The saints in glory
will dwell in God, and God in them. His glory is their overshadowing
cloud; His presence is their indwelling glory.
Verse 35. "And
Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because
the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of Jehovah filled the
And so on the Mount
of Transfiguration, when Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus in glory,
there came a bright cloud and overshadowed them, and the disciples
feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of
the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, hear Him." And when the
voice was past, Jesus was found alone (Luke 9.34-36). Thus, whether it
be Moses the servant of God, or the priests in Solomon's Temple in
their priestly ministry, or the two men on the Mount of
Transfiguration, all give place to the glory of God and of the Lamb.
THE GUIDANCE OF THE CLOUD.
40.36-38. "And when the cloud was taken up from over the Tabernacle,
the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys; but if the
cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it
was taken up. For the cloud of Jehovah was upon the Tabernacle by day,
and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the House of Israel
throughout all their journeys."
The people of God
are a journeying people, yet He will never leave them nor forsake them.
The great thing is to walk with God, so as ever to enjoy the light and
guidance of His presence. Moses said, "If Thy presence go not with us,
carry us not up hence" (Ex. 33.15). Who that values that presence, but
will often be presenting the same petition? The PRESENCE OF GOD with us
- How seasonable! How suitable! Shade in sunshine! Light in darkness!
Abiding with us while we tarry !.. Going before us when we move.
There is one thing
of all-importance taught us here. God's guidance of His people, and the
manifestation of His presence with them, is connected with the
Tabernacle, His dwelling-place among them. It was "when the cloud was
taken up FROM OVER THE TABERNACLE, the children of Israel went onward."
Their individual movements were controlled by God's acting in
connection with the Tabernacle. So with us, if our individual actions
are not influenced by the manifestation of God's presence and actings
with the assembly, no wonder if we miss His guidance, and walk in
Not only were the
children of Israel to pitch round about the Tabernacle, having it as
their centre, the very place of their tents being regulated by the
position of the Tabernacle, because it was God's dwelling-place; but
their every movement was to harmonise with God's movements in
connection with it.
Oh, for grace ever
to remember and to act on this! We are so prone to make self our
centre, and our individual interests and comforts, temporal or
spiritual, the guides of our actions, that we need every now and then
to be broken off from them, and to be brought back to God, and to the
things of God.
May we value the
presence of God with us, and the unclouded sunshine of His smile in our
individual pathway. But may we also seek the manifestation of His
presence in the assembly of His saints, so as ever to see His power and
His glory as we have seen it in the sanctuary.
May the chill and
the darkness, occasioned by the loss of His smile, be to us a warning
of our wandering, if we turn aside to the right hand or to the left;
whether it be in our individual course, or in our Church associations.
May we walk, O God, in the light of Thy countenance, the confident
language of our hearts being this, "Thou shalt guide us with Thy
council, and afterward receive us to glory."