Let’s turn now in our Bibles to Exodus chapter twenty-six. Now when we got into the twenty-fifth chapter of the book of Exodus, we began with the construction of the tabernacle. First of all, God informed him concerning the furnishings that were to be in the tabernacle. So in chapter twenty-nine it is described for Moses how that the ark of the covenant is to be built; it’s dimensions, the mercy seat which was the lid on the ark of the covenant with the two carved cherubim. Then the furnishing for the outer holy place of the temple were to be a lamp stand with seven lamps, the table which was to have twelve loaves of bread kept on it, and then the altar of incense.
Now as we get into chapter twenty-six, get into the construction of the tabernacle itself. First of all, the Lord gives instructions to the curtains that are to be over the top. Now the tabernacle is really a tent, and thus, you’ve got to picture it in your mind sort of as a tent. First of all, He describes the curtains that go over the top of this tent, the bottom curtain, and there are three layers of curtains actually. The bottom curtain is to be made of linen.
They are to take ten curtains of fine twined linen, blue, purple, scarlet: with cherubims with cunning work shalt thou make them. The length of one curtain [shall be] twenty-eight cubits, [or forty-two feet] and the breadth would be four cubits: [or six feet] and all of the curtains are to be the same measurement. Then they’re to take five of the curtains and couple them together; so that five would be sewed together (26:1-3).
Which makes now a curtain of thirty feet by forty-two feet. So you have two, then, large curtains of linen.
Now the interior part has got all these neat little embroideries, cherubims and fancy needlework, so that as you go into the tabernacle and you look up, you see all of these cherubim that have been woven into the fabric of this linen.
Remember this is a model of heaven. Heaven is filled with angels. So the idea of going into the tabernacle, and the consciousness of the presence of the angels of God that are there in heaven, so the cherubim all sewn in fine needlework in this linen curtain. Then the curtains were to have these golden rings sewed on them.
The loops of blue on the edge of one curtain at the selvedge; a coupling like you shall make [They were to make these loops and then these golden taches.] Fifty loops and then these golden taches: and they were to be tacked together at this loop (26:4-5).
So that you ultimately end up with one curtain that can be taken apart and folded into the two. Get the idea? It is actually, they are to be two large curtains, thirty feet by forty-two feet, yet they are to be—they should have these fifty loops, and then golden taches by which the loops are held together, so that when they put it over the top of the tabernacle it makes one large curtain.
But the tabernacle is to be a portable building. It’s to move whenever they move. So the thing all has to be made so that it is portable, so it can be taken down and carried away and just one curtain sixty by forty-two would be much too large to try to move. So it’s clipped together in the middle, so that they can take it apart and then move on with it when God indicated that it was time to move. Everything was portable.
You remember when they made the ark, they had the gold rings on it, and then these pieces of acacia wood overlaid with gold that went through the rings. They weren’t to touch it, but the porters could just pick up the staves and they carried the ark between them.
The same was true on the table of shewbread and all. It was all made so it was portable. They could move it from place to place. So it really is a well-designed portable building that was the tent, the tabernacle, the place, and it means “the place of meeting”. It was where the people were to meet God.
Now somehow along the line in history we’ve gotten in a wrong concept that the church is God’s house. The church is not God’s house. God doesn’t dwell in buildings made by men’s hands. When Solomon built the temple, he recognized, “Hey we’re not building a house really for God”, for he said, “the heavens of heaven cannot contain God.” So it is a place of meeting. It’s the place where I can come and meet God.
Now we could meet God anywhere. God’ll meet you wherever you want to meet Him. God will meet you on the beach, God will meet you on the freeway, you name it, God can meet you anywhere. But when we want to gather together to meet together, to fellowship, to have a place of meeting in a corporate sense, then the building comes in handy. If we lived in Hawaii, we could meet the Lord under the Banyan trees, and that’s great. But here is a place where we gather to meet God. We don’t think of this as God’s house at all, tomorrow it’s just an empty building, tonight it’s the church. The place where the church meets, you’re the church. So this becomes a place where the church gathers to meet together in a corporate sense with God.
Now the tabernacle was the place of meeting where people would meet God, but you see they didn’t have Jesus Christ. Thus, they couldn’t just meet God anywhere because God is a holy God, and if you meet God you might just fry because of your sin and His holiness. So in the Old Testament period, you wouldn’t dare meet God.
Thus, in order to meet God, they had a place and then they had a ritual by which you could meet God, but not yourself directly. You would come to the priest and the priest would go before God for you; then the priest would come back to you for God, but you just wouldn’t meet God directly yourself in the Old Testament. So they called it the place of meeting where the people could come to the priest, offer their sacrifice, and the priest would go before God for them. This was that place, the tabernacle. This lasted actually all the way up through the reign of David. They still, at David’s time, had a tabernacle. It wasn’t until Solomon built the temple that the tabernacle was finally done away with.
So the first curtain over the top of the tabernacle was linen, and basically sixty feet by forty-two feet.
Now the next curtain was of goat’s hair (26:7),
Now the first one is really for the ornament on the inside with the fancy needlework. Now the next one is sort of as a protection of sort. The second curtain over the first was of goat’s hair.
and there were to be eleven of these [So it was to be a little bit bigger than the first, it’s to drape down a little further over the linen one.] And again the length of one would be thirty cubits [Or forty-five feet instead of forty-two.] and six feet wide, but then they were to sew six of them together and five of them together again, making the loops and the taches whereby they were to be tacked together. [Now these taches, though on the goat skins were to be made of brass] (26:7-11).
Now with the goatskins, the fact that they had to use these goatskins or goat hair indicated the death of the animal. Wherever you have the death of the animal, you’re thinking now in the terms of sacrifice and the judgment for sin. That’s wherever anything has to do with judgment your metal becomes brass, but brass is the metal that is symbolic of judgment. So wherever there was animals, and the death of animals and so forth, brass was used because that’s a sign of the judgment against sin.
So this second curtain over the top a little bit bigger than the first. It is forty-five feet by sixty-two. It’s to hang over both ends and down the sides and to cover completely over the linen curtain. This is more of a protective covering.
Then the third covering was of [badger’s or] ram’s skin dyed red, a covering above the badger’s skins (26:14).
Now this is for waterproof, this is the outer covering and it’s the waterproof. So there are actually three coverings over the tabernacle, and thus as I say, it makes quite a tent.
Now there were to be these boards fifteen feet high and twenty-seven feet wide of acacia wood, and they were to be overlaid with gold. Then they were to make these silver sockets and these boards were to be sort of tongue and groove, fitting together, fitting in the silver sockets in the bottom. Then with the rings in the sides so that they could set the boards up and then run a stave through the ring so that the boards would stand upright.
So the boards were—of course, the tabernacle itself was to be forty-five feet long and fifteen feet wide. These boards, of course—the entrance at the front of it, and they describe how they are to make the entrance. But these boards are set in sockets of silver, side by side. Then over the top of it would be the hanging linen curtain, the hanging goat hair curtain, or goatskin, then over the top of that the waterproofing, the badger’s skin over the top of that. These big twenty-seven inch wide boards, they’re twenty-seven inches wide and they are fifteen feet high, with these rings so that when they set them up they could run the sticks through. Thus it could stand upright, and the curtains then going over the top.
He describes how they are to set them in this shape, rectangular shape of forty-five feet by fifteen feet. The tabernacle itself had two rooms in it. The outer room is thirty by fifteen, and then the Holy of Holies is a fifteen foot cube, or fifteen feet high, and fifteen feet wide, fifteen feet long. So it’s actually a cube in the Holy of Holies.
So as you would enter into the Holy of Holies, of course there was no light in there, except for what was called the Shekinah, which was just an incandescent type of light, a glow that just filled the room. It was the light of the glory of the presence of God there in the Holy of Holies. No one was allowed in there except the high priest.
Now he describes how they are to make these silver sockets and set the bars on the outside. In verse twenty-six,
Thou shalt make bars of acacia wood; and the boards on the other side of the tabernacle, Five bars for the board on the side, on the two sides westward. [and so forth] And then the bar in the middle that would reach from end to end (26:26-28).
So that they could run them through these golden or through these rings and pull the thing up.
Now separating the rooms on the inside was to be a veil. Now there are sources in history, whether or not they are accurate, we do not know, but when they made the veil in the temple to separate the Holy of Holies, there are some records that state that the veil in the temple itself was eighteen inches thick woven together. Just really a heavy, heavy, thick veil in the temple.
That is the veil that was rent, torn from the top to the bottom when Jesus was crucified. Of course symbolic of the fact that God, through Jesus Christ has opened the door for all man to come freely unto Him, access to God no longer limited to just the high priest. Access to God now open to every one of us because of the rent veil of the temple.
But here it describes the veil that they are to make for this Holy of Holies, the inner veil.
Thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims that shall be made: [So again the cherubims woven into it.] And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of acacia wood that are overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, and the four sockets of silver. And thou shalt hang the veil under the taches, that you may bring thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy [place] and the most holy. And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy [place]. And thou shalt set the table outside the veil, the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side. And thou shalt make a hanging for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, fine twined linen, wrought with needlework. And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks [shall be of gold]: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them (26:31-37).
Because there they would come in with the blood of the sacrifices, and thus, the brass sockets for those particular gold overlaid acacia staves. So I trust that you’re getting sort of a mental picture of this. It’s a tent, golden boards forming the walls around it so that when you walk into the tabernacle itself you would have to go through this first veil. You would enter into this room that is fifteen feet high, and as you looked up you would see the linen with the cherubims and so forth that are woven into the material. Over on your right side you would see the table of shewbread and on your left side you would see the lamp stands, and in front of you would be another curtain with cherubims and all woven in it. If you would go past the second curtain, in there you would see a golden box that is sitting with a golden lid on top and carved on the top of that golden lid would be these cherubims with outstretched wings. Thus, you get an idea of what the tabernacle looked like on the inside.
Now on the outside they were to make a court, which would be seventy-five feet wide, and a hundred and fifty feet long, with curtains around it seven and a half feet high. So that you have this outer court, which is sort of a curtained-in area seventy-five feet by a hundred and fifty feet. So it would be just the outer court, would be just about the—well just about as large as the building here is wide. It would be seventy-five, which would take us back to about between the third and the fourth pillar back here, that wide, and picture it in the building this long. Curtains that are seventy or seven and a half feet high, which makes them too high to tiptoe and peep over. These curtains were set on these posts that were set in brass sockets and so forth.
The whole thing, as I said, was portable. They need to move; they could just go ahead and take the thing apart, wrap the thing up. And there was certain of the tribe of Levi that were the bearers, they had to carry the thing. They would take it to the next place and then they could set it up like a tent is easily mobile, and it was made very portable and able to move it around as God would lead the children of Israel. So this court.
Now in the court, again he follows—first of all in this court are to be a brass altar.
Thou shalt make an altar of acacia wood, five cubits long, [which would be seven and a half feet, and so it is a square. The altar of acacia wood but now,] it is overlaid with brass [because we have the symbol of judgment where the sacrifices were to be burnt unto the Lord] (27:1-2).
So it is seven and a half feet square on the top, it is four and a half feet high.
and on each corner there is a horn (27:2).
It was carved on a horn shape coming up. So there were the four horns on each of the corners of this seven and a half-foot altar, four and a half feet high, all overlaid with brass. As he first of all gave you the furnishings of the tabernacle, and then the tabernacle, so the furnishings of the outer court, and then the description of how the outer court was to be made.
Now in verse twenty we get to the oil for the light.
And you shall command the children of Israel, that they bring pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. In the tabernacle of the congregation outside of that Holy of Holies veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the Lord: [it shall be] a statute for ever unto their generations on behalf of the children of Israel (27:20-21).
So they were to use olive oil in these cups in this golden lamp stand, and Aaron and his sons, it was their duty to keep the oil in there constantly so that the light never went off.
So as we get into history, we remember the case where Samuel, when he was just growing up he was brought by his mother who had dedicated him to the Lord, to the priest. Eli the high priest and Samuel sort of became sort of an errand boy. One night he heard his name being called. He ran into Eli, and he said, “What did you want?” He said, “I didn’t call you. What are doing in here?” He said, “I surely heard my name called.” “No, go back to bed.” He went back to bed and again he heard his name called, and came running in again. Eli says, “No I didn’t call you. What’s going on? Go back to bed.” So the next time Eli said, “Look if you hear someone calling again just say, ‘Speak Lord, your servant hears’.” So he heard his name called again, and he said, “Speak Lord your servant hears”, well the Lord was trying to tell him the oil was going out. Someone had failed there in the job of the light. So the beginning of his listening to the Lord and all, involved. These lights that were to be kept burning.
During the time that the temple was profaned by Antiochus Epiphanes, when he offered a pig on the altar and just spread its blood around the temple, Judas Maccabees saw and incensed over this sacrilege, put an idol of Zeus within the temple. Judas Maccabees so incensed that he gathered together some of the Israelis and they went out against insurmountable odds and wiped out the Syrian hosts, the men of Antiochus. They then planned to, you know, rededicate the temple but they had only enough oil for one day for the lamp stands.
Now it took a process of time. It took, as they developed the whole thing. You know, after a while you get men’s routines in it, and you get all kinds of rules and regulations. By this time it took seven days to get this olive oil all purified by the rituals and all. So they knew that they weren’t going to be able to prepare any olive oil for seven—you know take them seven days before they could prepare it for their use. And so miraculously as the story goes, though they had only a one-day supply of oil, the lights remained for the eight days, until the eighth day they were able to make the oil.
Thus, you have the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the lighting of the candles, one candle each day, the eight days and so forth. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which celebrates God’s miraculous supply of oil for Judas Maccabees at that particular period of their history.
Now as we get into chapter twenty-eight, we now move into the priesthood. We now have the tabernacle constructed, at least the architecture, the designs; the blue prints are drawn. Now getting to the priests,
Take thou unto thee Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, [even] Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. [So they were to wear these robes.] And thou shalt speak unto all [that are] wise hearted, whom I have filled with my spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. [So God was going to fill men with the spirit of wisdom, giving them the skill to make these robes.] And these are the garments which thou shalt make; a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, an embroidered coat, a miter, [or a crown] and a girdle: [a sash] and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. Now the ephod, [sort of a coat that was worn over the shoulders and down] of gold, and blue, and of purple and of scarlet, with cunning work. And it shall have the two shoulder pieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and it will be joined together. And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, even of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen. Thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel (28:1-9):
So these onyx stones were actually to tache this ephod here at the shoulders, to tache it together here at his shoulders. But on these onyx were the names of the children of Israel, so that whenever the priest would go before God, he was always bearing the names of the children of Israel, that is the tribes of Israel, on his shoulder. Whenever he would go before God bearing the onyx stones there on his shoulders, the tribes of Israel would be,
Six on each shoulder being carried before God. With the work of the engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, you’ll engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: and shall make them to be set in the ouches of gold. And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial. And you’ll make the ouches of gold; And the two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches (28:10-14).
Now the breastplate on his chest, there was this breastplate that he was to wear.
The breastplate of judgment with cunning work; the work of the ephod shalt thou make it; of gold, blue, and purple, and scarlet, and of fine twined linen shalt thou make it. [It shall be a square and it shall be doubled] Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof (28:15-16).
Now a span is the length between your thumb and your finger. So a square like this, this little breastplate that the priest wore on his chest.
And thou shalt set in it the settings of stones, four rows: and three stones in each row: the first row shall be sardius, topaz, carbuncle: The second shall be an emerald, sapphire, and a diamond. The third shall be a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth shall be a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper: [so these precious stones] and they shall be set in gold in their enclosings. And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes (28:17-21).
So there was to be a golden chain holding this breastplate over his chest so that actually he was bearing now, not only the names of the children of Israel on his shoulders before the Lord, but over his heart. The names of the tribes of Israel over his heart as they were engraved on, each stone representing one of the tribes. The names of the tribes engraved onto the stones.
So verse twenty-nine,
And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goes in unto the holy [place], for a memorial before the Lord continually (28:29).
So as he comes in the presence of God. He’s bearing really the names of the tribes of Israel, on his shoulders, on his heart.
Now in verse thirty the Urim and the Thummim.
And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually (28:30).
Now what is the Urim and the Thummim? Really the words mean, “light”, and “perfections”. I really don’t know. The Bible doesn’t tell us what the Urim and the Thummim actually are. But in years to come when they wanted to hear from God, they would oftentimes come to the priest to inquire of the Lord. And the Urim and the Thummim had something to do with the inquiring of God, because they would come to the priest with the Urim and the Thummim and he would inquire of the Lord for them.
So when David wanted to know, “Shall we go out to battle?” Rather than just going out to battle, he would come to the priest and say, “Inquire of the Lord shall we go to battle?” The priest with the Urim and the Thummim would inquire of God and say, “Yes, go.” Then they would continue to get directions.
Now some believe that the Urim and the Thummim were actually two stones, a black stone and a white stone; that in the inquiring of the Lord, the priest would reach in and pull out one of the stones. If he pulled out the white stone, it was God saying yes. If he pulled out the black stone, it was God saying no. That is one of the most prominent theories of what the Urim and the Thummim actually were. Two stones by which the priest would say, “God show us shall we go now”, and he’d pull in and if the white stone would go out, “Yes, we go now”, the black stone would go out, “No, we wait”. Then they would keep asking questions that could be answered by yes and no, inquiring of the Lord for directions and guidance.
It is interesting in the New Testament; the disciples were following somewhat similar kinds of leadings when they were wanting to choose a replacement for Judas Iscariot. They sort of drew straws; they cast lots.
Now the casting of lots is much the same. It is, and this was a method, casting of lots was a method used quite often by people to determine the will of God. You remember Saul used the casting of lots to determine who had disobeyed his orders. He said, “We’ll divide all of Israel and Jonathan and my son, and we’ll cast lots.” And the lot fell on Saul and Jonathan. He said, “Jonathan what did you do?” So the casting of lots was a method by which they sought from God answers.
Now all of us desire to be led by God. We would like to make sure that it is God leading. We remember where Gideon put out his fleece of wool, seeking that God would lead by the fleece. “Lord, are You really in this thing? Let the ground be dry and the fleece be wet, so that I can know that You’re really in it.” Then the next time, “Lord let the fleece be dry, and the ground be wet.” He didn’t know but what maybe he’d stumbled on some phenomena of nature that fleece will always get wet at night, and the ground even when it is dry, and maybe it’s just a phenomena of nature. So, “Lord let’s reverse it and see if it works the other way,” whereby he was seeking to be sure of the leading of God.
Now we would love to have some way that we could be sure of the leading of God, but this is almost like flipping a coin. I surely wouldn’t, I surely wouldn’t recommend that. “Heads I go, tails, I stay. God let it land according to Your will.”
I knew of a fellow that used to seek the leading of the Lord by putting ten pennies in his pocket. As he would pray and ask God for guidance, he would take out the pennies and put them down, and if they all came up, all ten came up heads, he took that as a yes indication from God. Any other combination he accepted as a no. Well, you know they all come up heads, you are fighting for pretty good odds now. The amazing thing, every once in a while, they would all come up heads.
The idea is that we would all like some kind of a sure method of knowing when God is saying yes, and when God is saying no. But the problem is we don’t always give God all the alternatives. “Well, which one shall it be Matthias or Barsabas that you’ve chosen to take Judas’ place?” So casting lots between Matthias and Barsabas was not good because God had a third party that they didn’t even know at that time, except as an enemy, a zealot Jew, Paul, or Saul of Tarsus. “Oh, surely God doesn’t want him. We’d never put his name in that pot because no way would God want him.” So we don’t always give God all the alternatives. We so often say, “Lord shall it be this, or that?” Well, it may be something entirely different from this or that. Something I haven’t even thought of.
Now I’m sorry that there is no surefire way of getting a yes or a no, like tossing a coin or pulling out a black or a white rock. We walk by faith. What I do is when I begin the day I say, “God my life is Yours. You guide in the circumstances of this day. I commit this day to You. Bring to pass Your will in my life.” Then I just have to trust God to do it. I accept the things that come in the day as from the Lord and the leading of the Spirit. I believe that my life becomes the revelation of God’s will, as I submit myself to Him.
“If in all of your ways you acknowledge Him, He will direct your path”(Proverbs 3:6). Where you get into trouble is by jumping in because you think, “Oh man, look at this good deal.” You don’t say, you think, “Oh man, don’t even need to inquire of the Lord on this one. It’s quite obvious such a good deal I don’t even have to ask.” That’s where I get in trouble. “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”
The walk of faith is always a difficult walk. It isn’t easy. As I say, we would like it much better if we could get some very positive indications of yes or no. It’s hard to just walk by faith trusting God. It can be very confusing if we keep getting blocked in something that we’re attempting to do. Is it God saying no or is it Satan trying to hinder me from doing the work of God? You know, and so it’s so difficult at times to really know when to persevere and when to realize, “Hey, I’m trying to buck God. God isn’t wanting me to do this.”
I surely wish that I could have a more positive, definite way of ascertaining when God wants me to move, when God doesn’t want me to move. I don’t. I’m just like you are. I just pray and then I trust God, and then I move and then I hope I’ve done the right thing. I trust that God is great enough that if I haven’t, He knows my heart, He knows the sincerity of my heart. And if I’ve done the wrong thing, He’ll, knowing the sincerity of my heart, He’ll overlook it and help me to correct it.
So we really don’t know exactly what the Urim and the Thummim was. I am convinced that I know what it wasn’t. I know that it wasn’t what Joseph Smith said it was. But with the golden tablets that he found, supposedly, he also found this pair of colored glasses that were magic glasses, because when he put them on, he could read the hieroglyphics on the golden tablets. So they were magical, interpretive glasses by which he could read the hieroglyphics. No, that’s not what the Urim and the Thummim were. But what they actually were, we don’t know.
Now this robe of the ephod was to be all blue. There was to be a hole in the top of it, in the midst: and it should have a binding of woven work round about the hole, as though it were the hole of a habergeon, so it would not be torn. [So sort of a hem really to keep it from being torn.] And beneath upon the hem thou shalt make pomegranates [Now this is on the bottom side of this ephod there were to be these pomegranates] of blue, and purple, and scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, about the hem of the robe all around it. And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goes into the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not (28:31-35).
Now the purpose then around the hem of the ephod was these, were these little golden bells and then a pomegranate. The golden bell, the pomegranate all around the hem. The purpose was that when he went into the Holy of Holies, no one could go in there except the high priest, but coming into the presence of God was really a hazardous job. When the whole thing first got started they realized what a hazardous occupation they’d gotten into as priests.
The very first day that they started their ministry as priests, two of them got wiped out. Nadab and Abihu both got wiped out the very first day. Because when they got the whole thing set up, and they got the altar all set, and the wood on the altar, fire came down from heaven, and the wood just spontaneously started to burn. Aaron’s two sons got so excited they grabbed their little incense burners, and they took strange—they took the incense burners, but it took strange fire, and they went in to offer it before God and the fire came from the altar and consumed the two sons of Aaron. It was a dangerous, hazardous job. You’re coming into the presence of God, and you better make sure that everything is right; if it isn’t, you’ve had it.
Now even the high priest in coming in before God, coming into the presence of God, everything had to be just right, if it wasn’t the high priest would get wiped out. How would they know? The bells would quit ringing. So that was the purpose of the little bells. They would tie a rope on his foot, and if the bells would quit ringing they’d take and drag him out. Occupational hazard.
So that was the purpose of the little golden bells around the hem, is that when he was ministering before God, in the actual going into this area of coming into that area where God’s presence was to meet the people, things had to be right or it could mean the life of the high priest. So the golden bells so that they would know in case he died.
Thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, [A crown that the priest was to wear.] and on this little plate you were to grave, engraven on it, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre shall it be. [So this mitre, or crown, blue crown that the priest was to wear, on it this little golden plate, with the engraving, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD”.] And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron might bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall sanctify in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord. And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, thou shalt make a mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make a girdle of needlework. And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets, and thou shalt make for them, for the glory and for the beauty (28:36-40).
So they were very ornaments, it was quite—I want to say ornamentation, but it was, it was very ostentatious and awesome as they would come out in these robes.
Thou shalt put upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; thou shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even to the thighs shall they reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in to the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not the iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever and ever unto him and to his seed after him (28:41-43).
So that when they’re bearing the iniquity of the people, they don’t die themselves.
Now notice that the robes were all of linen. There wasn’t to be any woolen garment worn by the priest. For wool causes you to sweat, and God didn’t want any man sweating in his labor for Him. That’s very interesting, isn’t it? When we look at all the perspiration that goes into the work of God today so many times, God doesn’t want you to perspire in your work for Him. That is the reason why they wore linen, no wool in their garments, to keep them from perspiration in their service for God.
God wants our service to be inspired service, rather than perspired service. If you have the inspiration, it doesn’t take the perspiration. But if you don’t have the inspiration, I’ll tell ya, even the perspiration’s not going to do it. So the inspired work unto the Lord.
Now in chapter twenty-nine the consecration of the priests and the offerings.
And thus they were to take a young bullock, and two rams without blemish, And unleavened bread, and cakes of unleavened tempered with oil, and the wafers of unleavened anointed with oil: of wheat flour shall you make them. And thou shalt put them into one basket, and bring the basket, with the bullock and the two rams. And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall [first of all] wash them with water. And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, the ephod, the breastplate, and dress him with the curious girdle [or that sash around him was] the ephod: And thou shalt put the crown upon his head, and the holy crown upon the mitre. [The mitre, and then the holy crown upon it.] And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats on them. And thou shalt clothe them with the girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons. And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock. And thou shalt kill the bullock before the Lord, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And thou shalt take the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar. And thou shalt take all the fat that covers the inwards, and that which is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar. But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, with his dung, thou shalt burn with fire outside of the camp: it is a sin offering (29:1-14).
So first of all, as Aaron is consecrated, the oil signifying the anointing of God, putting on him all of these beautiful robes and all and anointing him with oil. And then bringing, because he is to be serving for the people before God, he had to have his sins taken care of. So the first thing was a sin offering to take care of the sins of Aaron, washing him with water, putting on these robes, anointing him with oil, and then the offering of this sin offering.
Now Aaron and his sons were to put their hands on the head of the bullock. This is a symbolic action which symbolizes the transfer of my guilt over onto the ox. As I lay my hands on the head of the ox, I would be transferring the guilt of all of my sin over onto the ox, so that as that oxen has his throat slit, it is dying for my sins. It brings me the awareness of the awfulness of sin. Sin brings death. So I see the death of that animal, I see the blood shed, and I realize that my sins were put on it. And it was because of my sins that animal had to die, the transference of my guilt onto the animal, as my hands are upon its head.
Now the blood was to be taken with the finger and put on the horns, the four brass horns that were upon this brass altar. And then the fat and the kidneys were to be burned on the altar itself, but the carcass and the whole thing, because it was a sin offering, was to be taken outside of the camp and burned.
Now later we are told that that is the reason why Jesus was crucified outside of the city of Jerusalem, let out of the camp, because He was the sin offering. His was the sin offering being offered to God for us. That way, that’s why it had to be outside the camp that Christ was crucified. So they led Him out of the city, nearby, but out of the city His crucifixion, out of the camp of God’s people.
So first of all for the priest to serve God, he had to have something done about his own sin. Thus, the sin offering offered for Aaron.
Now one of the rams,
Thou shalt take one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of that ram. And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar. And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him, and his legs, and put them into pieces, and unto his head. And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the Lord: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto God. And thou shalt take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands on the head of the other ram. Then thou shalt kill the ram, and take his blood, and put it on the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about. And thou shalt take the blood that is upon the altar, and the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, upon his garments, upon his sons, on the garments of his sons with him: and they shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him. Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration (29:15-22):
So the ram for a burnt offering unto God; that’s just really as a gift to God. But then the next ram was the ram of consecration, and thus the blood was placed upon Aaron and his sons on the tip of their right ear, upon their right thumb, and upon their big toe of their right foot. Remember it’s the consecration, “I consecrate my ear to hear to hear the voice of God. I consecrate my hands to do the work of God. I consecrate my feet to walk in the path of God.” A life of consecration unto God. “That I may hear His voice, that I might do His work, that I might walk in His path.”
So the life of consecration represented by the blood on the tip of the ear, on the right thumb, and upon the big toe of the right foot, as Aaron and his sons were then consecrated. Their lives were to be set apart for ministry unto the Lord in this offering of consecration.
One loaf of bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of unleavened bread the bread that is before the Lord: And thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord (29:23-24).
So they would take then these loaves of bread that had been baked with this oil and wheat, and they were to wave them. The wave offering could be either in an up and down or in a cross fashion, but waving them before the Lord. It’s called the wave offering. Now the wave offerings were the offerings of the meal offerings, or the grain offerings that they would make these little cakes out of them and wave them before the Lord.
Thou shalt receive them of their hands, and burn them upon the altar for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour (29:25)
Baked bread; what smells better than barbecued meat and baked bread? So the sweet savour unto the Lord. That’s the idea of just that, you know, putting them on the altar, burning the ox, that neat smell that you get from barbecued meat, and the neat smell from baked bread and just a sweet savour unto God. Who doesn’t like the savour of baking bread?
Thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron’s consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before the Lord: and it shall be thy part. And thou shalt sanctify the breast of the wave offering, and the shoulder of the heave offering, which is waved, which is heaved up, of the ram of the consecration, even that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons: And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’ by a statute for ever [So the priests could eat that portion themselves, it became theirs.] for it is a heave offering, it shall be a heave offering for the children of Israel: for it is a heave offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifice of their peace offerings, even their heave offering unto the Lord. And the holy garments of Aaron and his sons’ were to be anointed (29:26-29)
Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. They shall eat those things wherewith the covering was made (29:32-33),
Atonement in the Old Testament, “kaphar” is to cover. We have in the New Testament the word “atonement” which is an entirely different word. In the New Testament it is “atonement”. It is becoming one with God, only possible through Jesus Christ. “It was impossible” we are told, “ that the blood of goats and bulls could put away our sins”. All they could do is testify of a better sacrifice that was to come.
So they were only a substance, they were only rather the shadow. The substance is of Christ. These things were all testifying of Jesus Christ, our great sacrifice. The One who was sacrificed for our sins. So it was not possible, they did not put away sin. What they did make was an atonement “kaphar”. They were a covering for this sin, but did not put them away. It remained for Jesus to do that through His death.
to consecrate to sanctify: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy (29:33).
What isn’t eaten was to be burned in the fire, just special for God’s servants.
Thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for a covering: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made the atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, and sanctify it. Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever touches the altar shall be holy (29:36-37).
So it was, that is consecrated to God once it has touched the altar, you could not take it back. It then belonged to God; whatever was laid on the altar it became God’s. If you laid your life upon the altar, then it becomes God’s; it isn’t yours to take back again. It isn’t, no longer belongs to you.
Now this is that which thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year every day continually. One lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other in the evening: And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of beaten oil; and the fourth part of wine for a drink offering. And the other lamb thou shalt offer in the evening, and you shall do according to the meal offering [actually] of the morning; and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire to the Lord. And this shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee (29:38-42).
So that was the purpose of the tabernacle: a place where God would come and meet with them, and speak unto them.
I will meet with the children of Israel, and [the tabernacle] shall be sanctified by my glory. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am Jehovah their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am Jehovah their God (29:43-46). Now Moses was up in the mountain getting all of these instructions from the Lord.