Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 8
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND THE TABERNACLE
Please turn to Exodus 23, We will be skipping a couple of chapters. I had a call the other day from a lady who asked, “Les, would you please digress. Stop where you are and go back and teach the Book of Revelation; I am 89 years old, and I want you to teach it before I pass on.” Bless her heart; I told her we would try to hurry, and I think we will after the Book of Exodus; we certainly want go chapter by chapter. We will take a brief look at Israel’s history, leading up to the Book of Daniel, and when we get to the Book of Daniel we will stop and indeed study prophecy for a while. Because when you study Daniel, you must study Revelation, and vice versa. So we will be doing that in the not too distant future.
Now that the law has been given, and man being what he is, even Israel will be shortly breaking the law, so God has to give what we call the whole system of law. In that whole system of law, we like to break it down into the moral law, which was the Ten. And then He comes right down the line and gives Israel the civil law. In other words, if their bull gets out and tramples down someone else’s crop, there had to be a system to compensate. Then on top of that, in order to compensate for the breaking of the moral law, God gave them what I like to refer to as the ritual, or the system of worship. And that involved of course the priesthood. They will also soon be establishing the Tabernacle so that Israel would know exactly what to do under any set of circumstances.
Before we get to the Tabernacle, I would like for you to stop in Chapter 23. We are all acquainted with the story of the ten spies, who go into the land of Canaan, to spy out the land. And I imagine that at least 99 out of 100 casual Bible students do not understand that that was not part of God’s plan at all. God intended for them to trust him explicitly. After all, He had already brought them out of Egypt miraculously, He had brought them through the Red Sea. So what were some measly little Canaanites (maybe some were 7 feet tall), but what are they with such a God. So God’s intention was as soon as the Tabernacle is completed, which will be in a year, God wants them to raise it up, so He can take them straight North into the Promise Land. No delay with 12 spies or any such thing. This is so clear now in Exodus 23, ordinarily, I don’t like to read too much, but on the other hand, people have told me that, as I read they will see things they had never seen before. So we will trust that the LORD will speak as I read it. We also may skim some of this, so you read it thoroughly in your leisure time.
“Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.”
Now, I need to stop for a moment. Who is the Angel in this case? It is Jehovah Himself. The Angel of God, The Angel of the LORD, is always God the Son. We pick that up in Genesis 46, where Jacob referred to Him as the Redeeming Angel. There is only one Redeemer in Scripture and that is God the Son. Jehovah in the Old Testament and Christ in the New Testament. So this is Jehovah that is speaking to the children of Israel and He is going to lead them.
“For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods,… And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.” Now verse 27:
“I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy (He is not telling Israel they have to destroy; He will for them.) all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.” Now reading verse 29:
“I will not drive them out from before thee in one year (this is not going to happen all of a sudden because Israel wouldn’t be able to keep up); lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land. And I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines (the Mediterranean); and from the desert unto the river (Euphrates, that is the river in Scripture): for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee. Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me:….”
Now, in line with all of that, I would like for you to turn with me to the Book of Deuteronomy Chapter 1. The Book of Deuteronomy is a synopsis, (a repeat of everything,) and so Moses is going back to where they had departed from Mount Sinai, and were indeed ready to go into the Promised Land.
“And when we departed from Horeb (Mt. Sinai), we went through all that great and terrible wilderness, which ye saw by the way of the mountain of the Amorites, as the LORD our God commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea. And I said unto you, “Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the LORD our God doth give unto us. Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it,….”
Does He tell them to send in 12 spies? No. Then who’s idea was it? The Israelites. They were the ones that backed off and were weak in faith, and forgetting all the power that their God had manifested. They say, “Hey, we can’t go in until we see what we are up against.” And when this happened, God condescended. But oh, don’t you imagine that those Jews must have wished those 12 had never gone in? It was because of their report that Israel got weak and afraid, and said “Oh we can’t do it.”
The amazing thing as we look at this from time to time, and we won’t take time to look at it now, but, in Hebrews the 4th Chapter Paul, by inspiration, is referring to those 40 years that they wasted in the wilderness. And he says “You could have gone in, and had the land of promise, but you did not because of your unbelief.” Not their immorality, and they had been guilty of that, and it wasn’t because of any other thing, but only their unbelief. And that is so appropriate for us today. What is the matter with Christianity today? Unbelief. People just cannot break down and say “Yes I believe what God says.” But they have the intellectual world with all of their intelligences, and their education, putting down the Scripture, and so what does man say? “Well, really, how can I believe this?” That is unbelief. This is what gets to the very heart of God.
Now, back to Exodus. So, God is preparing the Nation of Israel. They are several million strong, they are gathered around Mt. Sinai. They have now been given the Ten Commandments, and He has already begun to give them a certain amount of the Civil law in the intervening chapters. And now He is getting ready to set up the Ecclesiastical, or that part of the law that establishes their Temple worship. Of course it will be a Tabernacle. Who knows why this is called a Tabernacle? What is the other word for tabernacle? Tent. And what is a tent? Something temporary. When you live in a tent, you aren’t living in something substantial and permanent, but in something you can pick up and move. Now the apostle Paul also refers to our body as a tabernacle. It’s not here forever. It is temporary. And consequently we must tie all of this together. Now, let’s look at Chapter 25. God has called Moses up again unto the top of the mountain. The fire and thunder is taking place:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, `Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. (what was the word? Willingly) And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair (skins that have been put together with goat’s hair), and rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins,….'”
The badger here is not what we picture when we think of a badger. It was really a seal or a sea water animal, and I want you to remember that, because these hides of the seals will be on the outside of the tabernacle tent which I will point out when we get to it.
“Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate (we know these were beautiful stones).”
I want you to get the picture: they are out there in the wilderness, in the Sinai desert. Where are they going to get all of this material? Where did it come from? Egypt. Remember when they came out of Egypt, they spoiled Egypt. The Egyptians just gave everything to these Israelites. God had all this in mind. It was a Sovereign God who caused those Egyptians to give of their wealth. Several years ago I read a book of ancient history, and there is not a lot of written materials back from then, other than the Scriptures. Egypt was indeed in complete shambles, economically, socially, militarily, and everything, by the time the Israelites had left. Well, here is the reason. Israel just simply took Egypt’s wealth, not because they took by deceit, but by a Sovereign God.
Now, we will start on the Tabernacle building in verse 9. I like to point something out here. As God is now giving instructions for this Tabernacle an amazing thing comes up. I think very few people have caught it, although they may have been reading their Bible all their life. And that is that the Tabernacle floor plan that God gave to Moses was a copy of one not on this earth but where? In heaven. Now let’s look at verse 8:
“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern (That’s the crucial word.) of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.”
In other words, God isn’t dreaming this up from nothing. God said to Moses “I’m going to give you the instructions to build this tabernacle on earth, patterned after one that is in heaven.” Alright, we need to show that from Scripture don’t we? For that ,we must go back to the Book of Hebrews Chapter 9. We alluded to this several weeks ago, and I have several request to repeat it. So if we have time in this lesson we will try to do it. If not, then we may wait until the next one, because I don’t want to be rushed in the final minute or two. But here in Hebrews Chapter 9, verse 11 Paul writes.
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle (now look at the next statement), not made with hands (in other words not made like the tabernacle in the Sinai, or something like Solomon’s Temple by men. But we are talking about a tabernacle that God has constructed.), that is to say, not of this building; “
A newer translation may be in the text, that word “building” would have been better translated what? Creation. This is what Paul is referring to not made with men’s hands, and is not on this earth or this creation, so it has to be in heaven. In the very Throne Room. And evidently God has set this up in heaven, so that even though we see it all practiced back here in ancient Israel, yet it becomes so appropriate for you and I in the Age of Grace. We will be coming to all of this in the next few lessons. But when that High Priest went in and sprinkled the blood on the Mercy Seat, as the High Priest of Israel, what did Christ do for us? He did the same thing, only instead of going into the Tabernacle of Israel, He went into the Tabernacle in heaven. Now let’s read on.
“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his (Christ) own blood he entered in once into the holy place, (his little room behind the vail was called the Holy of Holies, and Christ went into the one in heaven as our High Priest. He brought His own divine shed blood at the crucifixion) having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
Do you see why a study of the Tabernacle is so appropriate? A lot of people say “Don’t touch that, it is so old and dusty, there is nothing in it for us.” Hey, it’s got everything in it for us. And we will be pointing that out in our study on the Tabernacle. Now let’s come back again to Exodus 25, You will notice that the first thing in verse 10 that God gives instructions for is this piece of furniture way back here. Now this faces east. They always sat the same way, and this would be the west, and of course this would be the south. As man would approach God, he would come from here. Here was the brazen altar, on which they made their sacrifices, but here was the very Ark of the Covenant, the mercy seat, where the High Priest would come in once a year and sprinkle.
Now, it is interesting that as God gives his instructions for all of this, He begins with this piece of furniture. (The Ark of the Covenant) Not this one. Now why is that? Because you see when God deals with man in salvation, where does everything have to begin? With himself. Always remember, man does not look for and find God. Some of you have been with me for several years now, but when Adam and Eve sinned, and they sewed those fig leaves, then toward evening Who did they hear in the garden? God. Did Adam and Eve run to meet Him, and say “Lord, you are the one we are looking for?” What did they do? They hid. Who had to find them? God did.
Now listen, it has never changed. Mankind will never, of his own volition, go looking for God. It is just contrary to our make up. God has to make the first move. That doesn’t mean that God has just simply forgotten some, and has already picked out who He will save, and who He won’t. I don’t agree with that at all. Because the work of the Cross was sufficient for how many? Everybody. A few weeks ago, I used the illustration in John’s Gospel Chapter 10 of the door to the sheep fold? Remember, I said that door was ground level. It is not beyond the reach of anyone. But, nevertheless, it still must begin with God. So the very first instruction for this tabernacle is going to start with this (The Ark of the Covenant). Then we move on through and on this side of the vail, and this next piece of furniture is the table of shew bread and that is in verse 23.
“And thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood (Or Acacia wood):….”
Now, this was a little tree or shrub that grew in the Sinai desert. This just shows us also the craftsmanship of these Israelites. I was studying on this a while back, while riding my tractor in the field. The last generation we think has come up with so much technology, such as particle board and plywood and all these things. It is nothing new. If you read, they took this little tree and we read that some of the boards are 18 inches wide. And those little trees were not that big. So they had to glue and particle it until they had all of these furnishing out of this acacia wood. Then we come to the golden candle stick, and God gives instructions on how to build that, and it will be out of beaten gold. And then as you come on through, you see that He just gradually keeps moving in the instructions all the way out until He meets with mankind.
Now, come to Chapter 30 for a moment. After describing how to make the Ark of the Covenant, the table of shew bread, the candle sticks, He tells in verse 1 how to make the altar of incense, which is this one right here in the middle. It was also made of this Acacia wood and covered with gold. And in verse 18 they were also to make a laver of cleansing, filled with water, where the priest would wash his hands and feet.