Exodus Chapter 40

EXODUS – Chapter 40 – Chapter 467


All being ready, a particular time is appointed for the setting up of the tabernacle and the initial worship thereat. This is by specific God-given orders to Moses. The various parts of the tabernacle are anointed; the different items of furniture are put in their places. And Moses and Aaron commence to minister thereat on behalf of the people. As they do so, the glory of Yahweh descends and fills the sanctuary. So powerful is the theophany that the priests are not able to minister therein. The cloud covers the tabernacle, and the glory takes up its position in the most holy. Thence afterwards, the movements of the children of Israel are governed by Yahweh as manifested in the cloud. While it remains stationary over the tabernacle, Israel remain encamped; when it moves, they follow.

The Command To Set Up The Tabernacle — vv. 1-8.

Though all parts of the tabernacle are completed, Moses does not presume to set it up but awaits the command of Yahweh to do so. There is a set time appointed for this, as there is a set time for the consummation of the divine purpose in the earth (Psa. 102:13). At last, Moses receives specific directions to assemble the tabernacle, and is instructed as to the order in which the various parts are to be set up.


"And Yahweh spake unto Moses saying" — How much time elapsed between the completion of the work (Exo. 39:42-43) and the command to set up the tabernacle is not stated.


"On the first day of the first month" — See Exo. 12:2. The tabernacle was set up 11½ months after leaving Egypt. It must have thrilled the people, and filled them with awe, to see the results of their gifts and labours taking shape in the beautiful and typically arranged sanctuary before them. They had responded liberally in their freewill offerings of goods and services. Skilled workmen had fashioned the materials into quality furniture and other crafted items of outstanding art and beauty. Moses had inspected and accepted the finished products, and, following the instructions of Yahweh, placed them in proper order for the erection of God's dwelling place in Israel.

"Shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the congregation" — The tabernacle was first set up, and then the tent (the coverngs of goats' hair, rams' skins reddened, and badgers' skins) was placed over it (see vv. 18-19). "Congregation" is mowade in the Hebrew, signifying "meeting at a set time." See previous notes.


"And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony" — The first piece of furniture put in its place is the ark. It is described as the Ark of the Testimony, for the ten commandments, comprising the testimony, formed the basis of the covenant Yahweh made with Israel (see Exo. 34:27-28; Deu. 4:11-14). In fulfilment of this, the antitypical ark and mercy-seat, the Lord Jesus Christ, was first perfected and the covenant of grace established, before the completion of the entire antitypical tabernacle: Christ and the redeemed.

"And cover the ark with the vail" With awe and appropriate ceremony the ark would have been put in its place, and the veil hiding it from the common view, and separating the most holy from the holy, hung in place.


"And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it" — The table of shewbread (Exo. 25:23-30) is next placed in the holy. Upon it were arranged the loaves of bread, the frankincense and the various vessels as prescribed (see Lev. 24:5-7).

It was appropriate that the table of shewbread should precede the lampstand, for the latter was designed to illustrate the former.

In fulfilment of the type, the Hope of Israel was first proclaimed before the completed revelation of God (the whole of the Bible) was given unto man.

"And thou shalt bring in the candlestick, and light the lamps thereof” — The lamps having been lit, the table of shewbread would be clearly illuminated (Exo. 37:17-24; see notes, ch. 25:31-39).


"And thou shalt set the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the testimony" - See Exo. 30:1-10; 37:25-28. The altar of gold was in the holy place, stationed just before the veil that hid the most holy (Exo. 30:6).

"And put the hanging of the door to the tabernacle" — The reference is to the heavy curtain door that closed the eastern end of the tabernacle. See Exo. 26:36; 36:37.


"And thou shalt set the altar of the burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation " — See ch. 38:1-7; and notes, ch. 27:1-8.


"And thou shalt set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and shalt put water therein" - See notes, Exo. 30:18; 38:8. The water was required for the ablutions of the priests (Exo. 30:19-21; 40:12,31; Lev. 8:6) and for washing the sacrifices (Lev. 8:21).


"And thou shalt set up the court round about, and hang up the hanging at the court gate"See notes, Exo. 27:9-18; 38:9-20. The "hanging" was the door to the enclosure (Exo. 27:16; 38:18).

The Tabernacle Anointed - vv. 9-11.

The instructions for anointing are given at this place, but it is doubtful whether they were carried out immediately. Most likely the ceremony was delayed until the special induction of the priests was carried out as described in Lev. 8.


"And thou shalt take the anointing oil" — See notes, Exo. 30: 22-33.

"And anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof, and it shall be holy" — By this anointing Yahweh claimed the tabernacle as His. It anticipated the anointing of the Lord and "his fellows" with the Holy Spirit and a change of nature (Mat. 3:16-17; John 3:34; Heb. 1:9; Rom. 1:4). See Lev. 8:10.


"And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy" — In Exo. 30:29 the whole tabernacle and its contents are described as "most holy," but as the altar opened the way to entrance thereat, it is here given a special status as "most holy." It was then anointed, sanctified, and cleansed so as to receive the offerings of Israelites. In this it foreshadowed the Lord Jesus as our altar (John 17:19; Heb. 9:11-12,23; 13:10, 20). By these ceremonies Israelites were taught to treat these objects of worship with the highest respect. Undue familiarity towards such can breed carelessness, and this was discouraged by drawing attention to the holiness of the way of approach to Yahweh. See the marginal references for things described as "most holy."


"And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot, and sanctify it" — See notes, Exo. 30:28.

The Priests Are Sanctified — vv. 12-16.

The inanimate objects associated with the worship having thus been prepared, the active participants are now inducted into their high office: Aaron and his sons are dressed and anointed.


"And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water" — Aaron and his sons were conducted by Moses to the site of the laver and washed in full view of the people. This was designed to impress Israelites with the cleansing power of the Word as represented by the laver. The ceremony appears to have been conducted at some time subsequent of the erection of the tabernacle. See Lev. 8:1-13.


"And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto Me in the priest's office" — It was appropriate that the inanimate objects be first anointed, and then the priests; for it is normal for Yahweh to first arrange spheres of activity for His servants before calling them to work therein. In ministering unto Yahweh in the priest's office, Aaron represented God to the people and the people to God. See notes, Exo. 30:30-32.


And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats" — First Aaron then his sons; first Christ then his sons (Heb. 2:13).


"And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father that they may minister unto Me in the priest's office" — The sons of Aaron were all anointed by Moses, but not in the same way. Aaron was first anointed by oil being poured upon his head (Psa. 133:2), and later by being sprinkled therewith; his sons were merely sprinkled with oil (Lev. 8:12,30). The latter was a lesser form of anointing, illustrating the higher status of the high priest who thus was sometimes named "the anointed priest" (Lev. 4:5; 6:22, etc.).

As high priest, Christ was anointed above his brethren, and has a higher name than that to which they can attain (Heb. 1:9; Phil. 2:9)

"For their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations" — As such it was representative of the work to be accomplished by the "firstborn of Yahweh," so that in the Lord Jesus Christ, this instruction is fulfilled.


"Thus did Moses: according to all that Yahweh commanded him, so did he" — Moses meticulously carried out to the letter all instructions delivered him. The phrase "Thus did... so did he" is repeated to emphasize the careful attention to detail required of Moses.

The Tabernacle Is Set Up — vv. 17-19.

In strict obedience to the commands he receives, Moses sets up the tabernacle.


"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" — See note, v. 2. As a prefabricated building (see Eph. 2:21), the tabernacle could be set up in one day.


"And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars" The word "fastened" is better given as "placed." The sockets were heavy pieces of metal that were placed on the ground; so that there was no need for actual "fastening."

As each piece of the tabernacle was put into place, the watching Israelites would see the building slowly take shape. Each individual family would thrill to the fact that it had personally contributed to the beautiful, wondrous structure before them.


"And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above it; as Yahweh commanded Moses" — The three parts of the tabernacle are here clearly defined. The tabernacle (mishkan) or separate place comprised the tabernacle proper with its tapestry ceiling of cherubim; the tent (ohel) was the goats' hair covering that was spread above it; the final "covering" were reddened rams' skins and badgers' skins. See notes, Exo. 26:14.

The Most Holy Set In Order -vv.20-21.

The furniture of the most holy is next placed into position.


"And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy seat above upon the ark" — See notes, Exo. 25:10-22.


"And he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the vail of the covering, and covered the ark of the testimony; as Yahweh commanded Moses" - See notes, Exo. 25:10; 26:31 -32.

The Table of Shewbread Set In Order -vv. 22-23.

The table of shewbread is placed in position, and the bread set in order upon it.


"And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the vail" -The table was on the right-hand side of the priest as he entered the tabernacle.


"And he set the bread in order upon it before Yahweh; as Yahweh had commanded Moses" — See note, v. 4; Lev. 24:6-8. The term "shewbread" signifies Bread of His Presence.

The Lamps Are Lit — vv. 24-25.

With the installing and lighting of the lamps the dark interior of the tabernacle is illuminated.


"And he put the candlestick in the tent of the congregation, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward" — The word "candlestick" (Heb. menowrah from manowr, a yoke; a frame), signifies a lampstand.

See note, v. 4.


"And he lighted the lamps before Yahweh; as Yahweh commanded Moses" — In these arrangements, Moses anticipated the work of the priests, and acted typically as the greater prophet-priest who was to come (Deu. 18:15-19; Heb. 7:12-14).

The Altar of Incense Put In Place -vv. 26-27.

With the placing of the altar of incense in the holy place, its furniture is complete.


"And he put the golden altar in the tent of the congregation before the veil" — As the place of prayer, the golden altar of incense provided the means of access to the most holy during the ministry of saints in mortality. It, therefore, was placed immediately before the veil.


"And he burnt sweet incense thereon; as Yahweh commanded Moses" — For the component parts of the incense and what they represented, see the notes on Exo. 30:34-38.

The Hangings And Altar Of Burnt Offerings - vv. 28-29.

The tabernacle completed, Moses now turns his attention to the outer court.


"And he set up the hangings at the door of the tabernacle" — Moses first arranged for the outside curtain door of the tabernacle to be suspended from its five pillars of grace. See notes, Exo. 36:37.


"And he put the altar of burnt offering by the door of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation, and offered upon it the burnt offering and the meat offering; as Yahweh commanded Moses" — Moses offered the first evening sacrifice in the priestly character he assumed at this time, by the appointment of Yahweh. Christ did likewise by divine appointment when his earthly ministry was completed, and he ascended to the Right Hand of Power. Paul states that Christ was appointed high priest "after the order of Melchizedek," even though "our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood" (Heb. 7:12-17). Therefore, to do what he did, Moses went beyond the restrictions of the Law. He did so at the appointment of Yahweh, who has selected faith and grace as the means of His favour. See Exo. 29:38-42 for a description of the meat (meal) offering.

The Laver And Court Set Up - vv. 30-33.

The final portions of the place of worship are now completed.


"And he set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and put water there, to wash withal" Moses set up the laver as directed. See v. 7; Exo. 30:18.


"And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat" — The action described in this verse was not necessarily done at this time, but most likely when the tabernacle had been set up, and the formal worship commenced thereat. As noted above, in all these particulars, Moses acted as a God-appointed priest, after the order of Melchizedek.


"When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as Yahweh commanded Moses" — For the importance attached to these ablutions see notes, Exo. 30:20-21.


"And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate" As directed in v. 8.

"So Moses finished the work" There must have been a sense of satisfaction to Moses in viewing the completed work, particularly after the delay occasioned by the Israelites in worshipping the golden calf. One can imagine him standing back and viewing the completed sanctuary with the utmost pleasure, rejoicing in its beauty of construction, and its glory of precious metals, colours, and, above all, its symbology.

The words, "Moses finished the work" are similar to those which the Lord uttered from the cross at the completion of his earthly ministry. As death drew near, he declared: "It is finished" (John 19:30). His ministry on earth was completed, the initial work was over — a guarantee that the final glory would be brought to completion. According to The Companion Bible the last words of Psalm 22, which is descriptive of all the labours of the Lord, can be rendered likewise. His sacrifice was an essential element in bringing the spiritual tabernacle to completion (see Heb. 8:2; 9:8).

The Cloud Covers The Tabernacle - vv. 34-35.

With the work complete, and doubtless as Moses and the people observing it with satisfaction, the cloud of glory, emble­matic of the divine presence gracefully and impressively moves down to overshadow the tabernacle, entering it so as to fill it. Thus Yahweh takes possession of it, filling it with His glory, so that, for a time, Moses is not able to enter thereat.


"Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation" — The Hebrew supplies the definite article: "the cloud." This is the cloud that had led the people to the mount, and which had been so active since their arrival (Exo. 13:21-22; 14:19-20, 24; 19:9; 24:15-18; 33:9-10). It was the hiding place of the divine glory (Hab. 3:4), and now completely covered the tent.

"And the glory of Yahweh filled the tabernacle" — Evidently the glory was manifested by an extremely brilliant breaking forth of light that, under normal conditions, was hidden from general view by the covering cloud. By this sign, Yahweh took possession of His dwelling place in the midst of Israel. A similar theophany took place at the dedication of the temple of Solomon (1 Kings 8:11) when it also was taken over by Yahweh. However, during the reign of Zedekiah, when the temple and city were given over to the Babylonians, Ezekiel in vision saw the glory leave the city by way of the eastern gate (Eze. 10:19) and then via the Mount of Olives (Eze. 11:23). This anticipated the final movements of the Lord Jesus Christ who left the city by way of the east, and finally, as the glory of the Yahweh (John 1:14), "stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city" (Eze. 11:23). From there he ascended into heaven being received up in a cloud (Acts 1:10-11). In the future, surrounded by a cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1), he is to return to that city (Rev. 1:7) by way of the east (Zech. 14:4). Then, when the city is rebuilt "to Yahweh" (Jer. 31:38-40) as a great temple (Zech. 14:16; Isa. 56:7), the Messiah shall again enter "by way of the east" (Eze. 43:2). However, he then shall not be on his own but shall be accompanied by a multitude in whom he will be glorified (2Thes. 1:10), constituting "the glory of the Elohim (Mighty Ones) of Israel" whose voice will be that of a multitude "like a noise of many waters" coming from the east (Eze. 43:1-3), as the rays of the morning sun.

Accordingly, the glory that entered the tabernacle, and, later, the temple in Jerusalem, was manifested in greater degree in the Lord Jesus; whilst in the future, the fulness of that glory will be revealed to all (Col. 2:9).

Meanwhile, the tabernacle was so covered with the cloud, and filled with the glory of Yahweh, that Moses could not enter therein for a time. This foreshadowed the future when the antitypical temple (Christ and the saints) will be manifested in the political heavens (Rev. 15:5). Then, again, for a time, it will be closed to priestly intercession for the nations, though individuals may "elect" to come out of them (Rev. 15:8). The immortalised saints, though they shall constitute a royal priesthood (Rev. 5:9-10), shall not be able to minister on a national basis as such until the final vials of judgment are completed.

Until that time the glory of Yahweh manifested in the saints is hidden. See notes in The Christadelphian Expositor: Revelation.


"And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation because the cloud abode thereupon" This suggests that Moses had tried to enter but had been prevented by the cloud which, leaving the temporary tent (Exo. 33:9), had now settled on the outer covering of the tabernacle. In doing so, it indicated the divine approval of the building (see Num. 9:15).

"And the glory of Yahweh filled the tabernacle" — The glory is yet to be manifested in the earth in the future. See Num. 14:21; Isa. 66:19. Moses' experience at the tabernacle anticipated that glorious future.

The Cloud Leads The People – vv.36-38.

The cloud, indicating the presence of Yahweh, becomes His guiding presence to the people. These verses comprise an epi­logue to the narrative of Exodus.


"And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their jour­neys" - See Num. 9:17; 10:11; Neh. 9:12. The cloud was the token of the divine presence, and therefore of divine guidance. Its action was direct, continuous, unmistakable, infallible. All plans, all routes, all marching, all camping was subject to the principle of "If the Lord will. (James 4:15). To watch the guiding pillar was all the people were required to do. On that guidance they were entirely dependent, and, in following it, they were absolutely safe. We must seek such a guidance, and we can find it in the Word. In turning towards it our eye will ever be towards His eye, which is constantly upon us (Num. 32:12; Psa. 32:8).


"But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up" — All movement was governed by the cloud, so that they were constantly under divine direction. See Num. 9:18-23.


"For the cloud of Yahweh 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" See Exo. 13:21-22; 14:20-24; Num. 9:15-16. The cloud by day appeared as fire by night, so that Israelites were conscious of the presence of Yahweh both day and night. He "never slumbers nor sleeps" (Psa. 121:4); by night or day Israelites could turn to Him for help (Psa. 134:1).

The presence of the cloud was thus a comfort as well as a protection, providing a cover from the heat of the sun (Psa. 105:39; Rev. 7:16).


The last few verses of Exodus are parenthetic, and its real end is v. 35. The close of the book, therefore, is worthy of the greatness of its subject. It ends where the history of the world will end: with the glory of Yahweh filling the earth as the waters cover the sea (Num. 14:21). Thus the book of Revelation declares: "/ heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write; for these words are true and faithful" (Rev. 21:3-5).

This will be the completion of God's purpose with humanity, a process from bondage to deliverance, advancing by stages from visitation to separation, education, consecration and dedication as in the book of Exodus. All the efforts and strivings of the people in the days of Moses were brought to a final, wonderful completion. So it shall be, to a greater extent, in Christ. May we be with him in that day to share this wonderful glory.


Our exposition of Genesis traced the chronology of the world from the creation described in Genesis 1 to the death of Joseph in the year a.c. 2369.


From the death of Joseph to the birth of Moses represents a period of 64 years, computed as follows:

Date of the Call of Abram a.c.2083

Israel left Egypt 430 years after the call of Abram (Exo. 12:40-41) 2513

Joseph died 2369

Period between death of Joseph and Exodus 144

Moses' age at the Exodus (Acts 7:29-30) 80

Birth of Moses after the death of Joseph 64


This provides for the following chronology


Death of Joseph a.c. 2369

Birth of Moses 64 years later +64


Flight of Moses (Acts 7:29) +40


Exodus from Egypt (Acts 7:29-36) +40


Left Egypt for Succoth Thursday 15th Abib (Exo. 12:37)

Arrived at Pi-hahiroth on Saturday 17th (Exo. 14:2)

Sunday morning rejoiced (Exo. 14:30)

Wed. 21st arrived at Marah (Exo. 15:23)

Saturday 15th (2nd month) arrived at the Wilderness of Sin (Exo. 16:1)

Saturday 22nd — Sabbath first celebrated (Exo. 16:23)

1st day, 3rd month (a Monday) at Sinai (Exo. 19:1)

2nd day (Tuesday) Moses ascends Sinai (Exo. 19:3)

3rd day (Wednesday) People reply (Exo. 19:8)

4th day (Thursday) Moses ascends Mount (Exo. 19:8)

7th day (3rd day feast —Sunday) (Exo. 19:11)

8th day (Law given — Pentecost)

(Moses' forty days in the mount on two separate occasions — Deu. 9:18) 1st day 1st month 2nd year: Tabernacle erected (Exo. 40:2)

(Israel at Sinai ten months).




Centre of Divine Worship in Israel


The tabernacle was the appointed centre of worship in Israel. The plans for its construction came from God (Exo. 25:40), the workmen that formed it were specially endowed with wisdom and skill (Exo. 35:30-35), and the materials were taken "out of Egypt, as Israel left to be baptised in the Red Sea (ICor. 10:1-2), on the way to the Promised Land.

All this was of the greatest significance, for the tabernacle was more than a centre for divine worship: it was a parable of what God desired to see developed in those who came before Him in worship. He had revealed His name to Israel as Yahweh (Exo. 3:14-15) — a Name that means He will become, but which is rendered Lord or God over 7,000 times in the Bible, and this Name is expressive of His purpose to reveal His characteristics in people of His choice. The tabernacle, therefore, was a parable, "a figure for the time then present" (Heb. 9:9), foreshadowing the principle of God-manifestation in flesh.

The word "tabernacle" comes from the Hebrew mishkan and signifies Dwelling Place. It was separated in a place of its own in Israel, and there Yahweh figuratively dwelt in the midst of His people. It was not a place in which to worship, but one at which to do so, for the various appointments were designed to teach spiritual lessons.

Its Three Sections

The tabernacle was divided into three parts: the outer court, the holy place, and the most holy, answering to the three stages of God manifestation. The further one penetrated into the tabernacle, the fewer people were seen. Outside of the wall of white linen that separated it from the tents of the people, were the thousands of Israel, answering to the countless number of those to whom salvation is offered. In the outer court, however, were found the actual worshippers, anticipating those who learn of Christ. Beyond the altar only priests and Levites were permitted, signifying those who embrace Christ.

The outer court therefore, denotes a state of Preparation, a mental approach to the things of God, developed by an understanding of the Word of God (Eph. 5:26; John 15:3).

Into the holy place, only the priests could go. It prefigured the Application of the things of God, and denoted a moral walk in the light (lampstand), eating the bread of divine fellowship (shewbread), and continuing "instant in prayer" (incense altar). Figuratively ministering in the holy place is the present status of Christ's followers (Rev. 1:20; cp. Eph. 1:3; 2:6 with Heb.9:23).

The most holy was reserved for the high priest only. It points forward to those who ultimately attain unto the glory (Luke 13:24; Rom. 5:2), being made "like unto" Christ (Uohn 3:2), possessing divine nature (IPet. 1:7; 2Pet. 1:4), of immortality. The most holy, therefore suggests Glorification, the physical manifestation of God.

In that way, the tabernacle sets forth a progression: from Preparation (mental understanding), to Application (moral manifestation), to Glorification (physical revelation) of God-manifestation.

The Outer Court

Made up of the wall of white linen, the entrance curtains, the brazen altar, and the laver. They symbolise the requirements of God as follows:

The Wall of White Linen (Exo. 27:9-10). A symbol of separation from external matters, and justification by forgiveness of sins. See Rom. 3:23-31; 5:1; 10:17; Heb. 11:1,6. The wall of white linen reminded Israelites that they could only acceptably worship Yahweh through the righteousness of faith. It was hung on pillars and sockets of brass (representing the flesh purified by fire - Num. 16:37-38; 1 Cor. 3:15), topped by silver (representing redemption — Exo. 30:13).

The Entrance (Exo. 27:16). This was formed of a curtain of blue (God manifestation — Num. 15:38; Deu. 22:12), scarlet (the sacrifice of sinful flesh — Isa. 1:18), purple (the harmonising colour, a blending of blue and scarlet, representing God manifest in the flesh, — Mark 15:17; Est. 8:15; Dan. 5:7, marg.). The entrance represented the Lord Jesus (John 10:9), who manifested the qualities depicted in the colours.

The Brazen Altar (Exo. 27:1-8). Christ in sacrificial manifestation (Heb. 13:10). All who touched the altar were made holy (Exo. 29:37); in its antitype, all who make contact with Christ through baptism are constituted holy (Rom. 6:1-3). The priests first washed at the laver before attending to the altar (Exo. 30:18), teaching that a person must be washed by the Word (by understanding) before baptism is valid (Mark 16:16).

The Laver. Here the priests washed hands and feet before and after engaging upon their daily duties in the holy place. It represents the cleansing agent of the Word (Eph. 5:26) where "washing" is "laver" in Greek). See Psa. 119:9; John 15:3. There is a constant need of the Word after baptism that we might walk (feet) and work (hands) acceptably in the sight of Yahweh.

The Holy Place

This symbolised the application of the doctrine of Christ. It was part of the tabernacle styled "the patterns of things in the heavens''(Heb. 9:23), pointing forward to that state in which baptised believers walk (Eph. 2:6).

The Lampstand (Exo. 25:31). The lampstand was fed with oil, and had seven lamps, speaking of perfect light (Psa. 119:105). As the specifications of the tabernacle did not provide for windows, the lamps were the only form of light in the holy place, and therefore presented a contrast to natural light (Rev. 1:20; Phil. 2:15). The lamps in the tabernacle were kept burning by oil supplied by all Israel (Exo. 27:20-21), so it is the responsibility of each member of an ecclesia to contribute to the general light of knowledge applied. If the light went out, the priest walked in darkness.

The Table of Shewbread (Exo. 25:23-30). Literally, the word "shewbread" signifies His presence. It was illuminated by the light of the lampstand which revealed the presence of a gold-covered table upon which were placed each sabbath twelve loaves of bread together with frankincense (Lev. 24:5-9). These loaves were a memorial of the twelve tribes of Israel and are styled the bread of their God (Lev. 21:6). The twelve loaves represented the Hope of Israel (Acts 28:20), the partaking of which will give life. The priests were required to eat these loaves in the holy place each sabbath, typifying fellowship with Yahweh through the Hope of Israel.

The Golden Altar of Incense (Exo. 30:1-8). Each morning and evening incense was burnt on this altar from coals taken from the brazen altar in the outer court, thus the two altars were connected. Incense represents prayer — Psa. 141:2; Rev. 5:9-10 (mg.); Luke 1:10. Acceptable prayer must be offered through Christ our Sacrifice and Altar (Heb. 13:10).

The Most Holy

The most holy was half the size of the holy place (Exo. 26; cp. Mat. 25:2-3) and formed a cube, which to the Hebrews was the symbol of perfection. (For the symbolism of the cube see Eph. 3:17-19).

The Veil (Exo. 26:31-33) — Similar in colour to the entrance curtain, but with cherubim inscribed upon it. It represented flesh dedicated to Yahweh (Heb. 10:20). The Lord penetrated beyond the veil (of flesh) when he rose from the dead, and was clothed upon with divine nature. Thus, to enter the most holy is to penetrate beyond the veil to the divine nature (2Pet. 1:3-4).

The Ark of the Covenant (Exo. 25:10-16). The ark was symbolic of salvation in Christ. It was called the "Ark of the Covenant" because the ten commandments, the basis of the Mosaic covenant (1Kings 8:9, 21), were placed inside of it. The ark was of wood (human nature) covered with gold (a tried faith 1Pet. 1:7). In addition to the tables of the covenant (divine law — Heb. 9:4), it also contained a golden pot of manna (representative of Christ as the food of faith leading to life eternal — John 6:48-51; Rev. 2:17), and Aaron's rod that flourished (representative of divine selection and authority demonstrated by resurrection — Num. 17:5-10; Rom. 1:1-3). The ark taught that those "in Christ" must live by the law of God, must eat the food of faith, and must seek life through a resurrection from the dead.

The Mercy Seat (Exo. 25:17). A sheet of gold representing Christ (Rom. 3:25 where "propitiation" from the Gr. hilasterion, should be rendered "mercy seat"). The word in Hebrew (kaphar) signifies "cover," and Christ is our "covering" (Rom. 4:7; Gal. 3:26-28), the means of purging or cleansing from sin (Heb. 9:23-24). He was a man of faith (gold), who suffered (purified with fire) and revealed the character of his Father (beaten into shape).

The Cherubim (Exo. 25:18-22). They were made of the same piece of gold as the mercy seat, and were so constructed that their faces gazed upon the blood-spattered mercy seat. They represent the multitudinous Christ (cp. Eze. 1:10 with Rev. 4:7; 5:9-10) when, in glory, they will be united with Christ (John 17:20-23). Between them the glory of Yahweh shone forth. See Psa. 80:1; Rom. 5:2.

The Boards of the Tabernacle (Exo. 26:15-25). Formed out of selected trees (Acts 15:14), cut down (humbled in the dust), shaped according to divine specification (changed in character) made to stand upright upon two feet, set in silver sockets (redemption), and covered in gold (faith). The redeemed are likened to trees of righteousness (Psa. 1).

The Coverings (Exo. 26:1-14). The ceiling of the tabernacle was made of a curtain of fine twined linen embroidered with cherubim in scarlet, purple and blue. Over this there was a tent, or covering, made of [1] Beaver's skin, [2] Ram's skin dyed red, [3] Goat's hair. All point forward to Christ. The beaver's skin was blue in colour, reminding Israel of their holy calling (Num. 15:38; Deu. 22:12). The ram's skin pointed forward to the "Lamb of God" sacrificed to take away the sin of the world. The cover of goat's hair points to the sin-offering which likewise was typical of Christ (Rom. 8:3). He is our covering, our redeemer, our tabernacle (Gal. 3:26-28).




  • The fulness of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ will be revealed to all in the Kingdom age




  • HP Mansfield – Exodus

  • HP Mansfield – Revelation

  • Carl Hinton – Fountain of living waters




  • Describe the outer court

  • Describe the Holy place

  • Decribe the Most Holy place




  • Explain the symbology of the outer court

  • Explain the symbology of the Holy place

  • Explain the symbology of the Most Holy place




  • How is the Tabernacle a shaddow of the work that we do in the Ecclesia today



English files: