Richard Agee

Exodus 25: Shadows of Messiah in the Tabernacle

Richard AgeeThere are those who teach that God is not “picky,” that we can “come as we are” to Him, anytime we want, any way we want. But is that the lesson of all Scripture? The further you read into Exodus, the more you see how “picky” God really is.

From this point on, the point of the book of Exodus is about the Tabernacle. It was revealed to Moses over the course of the 40 days on the mountain, yet God also inspired craftsmen and craftswomen who were not on the mountain with knowledge of God’s design as well.

God is “picky” — about anyone coming into His presence via any other means than by the High Priest. That one, Who is over all, is Yeshua (Jesus).

There are only three precious metals mentioned here: gold, silver and bronze. These were to be obtained through freewill offerings, not by taxation or compulsion. These were to be gifts of the heart. He wants to live where He is wanted. 

The colors of the materials were either purple, blue and scarlet linen. He also asks for goat hair, rams hide and “badger” or “porpoise” skin. This word in Hebrew is תּחַשׁ tachash (Strong’s H8476). It has a strong skin that is blue in color. The blueness of the hide is the most important characteristic of this hide. This is why the animal is sometimes referred as a porpoise or dolphin. The purpose of this particular hide was to be a cover for all the other items in the inner sanctuary. 

We read another reference in the TaNaKh (Law, Prophets and Writings) to the porpoise skin that might shed light on its purpose. 

“Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine,” declares the Lord GOD. Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. “I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk.” (Ezek. 16:8–10)

God also used silk, which is made from a silk worm, to clothe His bride. It’s not something set aside for  food, not everything in the Tabernacle came from animals that are fit for food. 

God also asked for certain stones, including onyx, for the ephod, which is an outer garment the priest wears, like a poncho without sleeves. There was a breast piece placed on the top of it with certain stones. 

God wanted a place was clean, sanitary and He wanted His people to make it for Him so He can dwell with them. It’s not so they can dwell with Him but so He can dwell with them. 

God did not accept random gifts, these were specific requests for a specific purpose. The Egyptians had given the children of Israel a great deal of gold and silver when they were leaving in Egypt. These were not dainty items but substantial items that could easily be repurposed. 

God told Moses repeatedly that everything is to be made to a specific pattern. 

The acacia wood that God asked them to use for many of the items was a common wood in the Middle East. Much of the acacia was to be covered or plated in gold. 

He wanted the Ark to be made a certain way and He wanted the items on top of it to be made in a certain way as well. This was to be God’s throne. 

It was to have golden rings on all corners with poles on both sides so it could be easily moved and those poles were inserted into the rings and they were never removed from the ark. 

When Solomon made the Temple, he used the exact measurements of the Tabernacle and its said that the poles stuck out of the veil surrounding the inner sanctuary and could be seen outside. 

God told Moses that the Ark would not be empty. Moses was to place a testimony, which were the 10 commandments inside the Ark, which tells us that the 10 commandments were not monstrously large. 

The mercy seat is very fascinating. We know how long and wide it is in proportion of the ark. I imagine it was pretty heavy since it was made of pure gold. It would have taken many men to put it into place. 

Why is it called the mercy seat? It covers the ark. It was a lid covering the ark. It covers the witnesses of the 10 commandments. We talk on Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) about a covering over our sins, transgressions and iniquities. They are not seen or acknowledge by God anymore. God established it in the beginning. He tells Moses to make sure to design it exactly as he was shown. 

The creator of Heaven and Earth, and Yeshua had to walk through the Holy of Holies and it cost Him His life. What benefit did we gain? We can walk into that place without fear, without danger. In the beginning this is what God had in mind. The portability of the ark is a reflection of how God in Heaven moves on His own. There are two cherubs on the throne are not there just to look pretty. They are a reflection of God’s throne and His movement. They don’t move until God says to move. 

The mercy seat is a place of atonement. The witnesses against us are beneath God’s feet, He no longer sees them. God is on top of it. That is mercy and that is why we have so much hope. 

We first read about the cherubs or cherubim in the Garden. There were at the gates of the garden with their flaming swords to guard. They are guards and watchers. They are also frequently mentioned in the book of Ezekiel. They do not protect God but they are protecting the witnesses so they don’t get out. 

The table for the shewbread (Bread of the Presence) and the incense. This table was also built to specific measurements. It was the same height as the ark. It also had rings and poles for carrying it around. 

There were also dishes, pans, jars and bowls made of gold for the inner sanctuary. 

What is shewbread? What does it show? Why did God want a table with 12 loaves of bread? What did He want to see? What were the people showing God? Each tribe was responsible to bring one loaf of bread and showing God what He wanted to see. He wanted their food and their life. 

During most of the Temple’s existence, there were not 12 loaves shown in the Temple, once the kingdoms split, God was witness to this split. 

The menorah was a lamp made for light. Light was to emanate from this menorah. The purpose of this menorah was to separate the light from the dark. It’s the light God’s sees. It represents His eyes upon the people of Israel. We see this imagery in Revelation, and the lampstand that was in front of Yeshua with each light representing one community (Rev. 1:12–20). Yeshua could remove any light that wasn’t working and replace it with another.  

The menorah was made like an almond tree without a base, and was planted directly into the ground. The branches of the almond tree are straight, not curved. Daniel did an excellent talk on the first menorah you can refer to for more insight into the how and why of its design and the lessons therein.

“See that you make them after the pattern for them, which was shown to you on the mountain.” (Ex. 25:40)

As we continue to learn about the items of the outer Tabernacle and what the high priest wore, this will show us how God wants to dwell among His people. God is “picky.”  

Speaker: Richard Agee. Reader: Jeff. Summary: Tammy.

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