This Sabbath we have two parashas, the first is called Vayakhel which means, “And he assembled” it covers Exodus 35:1-38:20. The second is Pekudei which means, “An accounting” and it covers Exodus 38:21–40:38.
These chapters are on the creation and construction of the Tabernacle, with its materials and furnishings. These subjects are filled with knowledge pertaining to Heaven, salvation, the priesthood, the new Covenant Church and Messiah Yeshua.
Due to our limitation of time, we will not have the opportunity here to fully explore these matters. But let me suggest that you do a personal in-depth study of these chapters; God the Holy Spirit will bless your hearts in these studies.
Moses called a meeting of all the people and said to them, “These are the words of Adonai your God that you must obey. ‘Work six days only “but the seventh day must be a very special day of rest for you.
You will honor the Lord by resting on that special day. Anyone who works on the seventh day must be put to death.’” Even lighting a fire in their homes was forbidden.
Then Moses said to the community of Israel, “This is what your God has commanded. Take a sacred offering for the Lord; let those with willing and generous hearts present the needed gifts to the Lord.”
Listed were metals, including gold, silver, and brass; along with cloth, leather from rams and badgers skins, acacia wood, spices, olive oil for lighting, and finally jewels of many kinds needed for the ephod and the breastplate of the High Priest’s special garments.
These contributions were to make the Tabernacle and all that was associated with it. This included the Ark, the Table of Showbread, the Lampstand, the Altar of Incense, the anointing oil and sweet incense, the Altar of Burnt Offerings, the laver, and the garments for the priests who served in the Tabernacle.
In Chapter 36, we read that the Holy Spirit gave Bezalel and Oholiav the wisdom to know what to do and the ability to do it. In the same way today, Adonai has given gifts to all His people that we might do the work that we were called to.
Many hearts were stirred and moved, so the people came and brought their sacred offerings in abundance to the Lord. So much was given that Moses had to restrain the people from bringing any more. In addition, they also gave of their time and talents.
Then the skilled workers began making the Holy Tent. The first items mentioned were the coverings for the Tabernacle. There were four separate coverings in all. The first was made of fine linen, Bezalel decorated the curtains with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and then skillfully embroidered Cherubim in them.
This curtain was the one that would be seen inside the Tabernacle. It would form the visible ceiling and would have been very beautiful with all the different colors of the Cherubim woven into it.
The second covering was of goat’s hair. This curtain would not have been visible, and was of a rougher substance than the fine linen and would have been a protection for the linen.
The third covering was rams’ skin dyed red. This was the first of two leather coverings. Like the goat hair covering, this also would not have been visible when setting up the Tabernacle; but though not seen, it served a very important role as a protective covering.
The fourth covering was made of badgers’ skins. This was a tough leather covering, and like the rams’ skin this would also give a protection for the Tabernacle. This covering would be seen by those outside the Tabernacle. It was a drab color, many think it was gray, in contrast to the much brighter colors inside the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle had walls that were 15 feet high, and the width was one and a half cubits, over which the covering curtains were draped.
Crafted from acacia wood, the Tabernacle walls were then overlaid with pure gold. This made them appear to be solid gold walls and would have made the inside of the Tabernacle a place of breathtaking beauty.
The Tabernacle was not held up by ropes and stakes; instead the walls were set in sockets of silver. These sockets would act as anchors to hold the walls in place. We learned in an earlier chapter that these sockets were crafted from the atonement money collected during the census of the people.
Moses inspected all the pieces and parts of the Tabernacle one by one, as well as the garments of the priests. God is also mindful of every facet and phase of His work in us and does not overlook any aspect of it. Even the smallest hook for the curtains was as necessary as the Brazen Altar.
Chapter 37 addresses the building of the furniture for the Tabernacle. The first piece of furniture discussed is the Ark with its atonement cover. It is the most sacred item in the Tabernacle and the only furniture placed within the veil of the Holy of Holies. The Ark was made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold, both inside and out. It was approximately 45 inches long by 27 inches high and 27 inches wide.
The Ark cover was made of solid gold, and also served as a lid covering for the Ark. It made the Ark top heavy, so that if the Ark was not carried the proper way, according to God’s instructions, it could tip over – as it almost did later in David’s time.
In chapter 38 we read that Bezalel used acacia wood to build the altar. This was the altar used for burning offerings. The altar was square; it was 5 cubits long, 5 cubits wide and 3 cubits high. He made a horn for each of the four corners of the altar. Then He joined each horn to its corner so that it looked like one piece. Then he covered the altar with bronze. This Brazen Altar was the first thing a person would see when he came into the court of the Tabernacle.
The brass laver was made and filled with water. This provided a place for the priests to clean their hands and feet before they went into the Tabernacle tent.
The dimensions of the outer-court occupied 150 feet by 75 feet, and it was enclosed by curtains of fine linen, suspended on brazen or copper pillars. about 8 feet high
Scholars have estimated that constructing the Tabernacle required nearly one ton of gold, three and a quarter tons of silver, and two and a quarter tons of bronze. This was not an inexpensive structure!
Chapter 39 describes the garments made for the priests according to Adonai’s specific design. The colors of these robes and breastplate coordinated with some of those in the Tabernacle curtains.
The people completed all the work. When Moses saw that they had done everything just as Adonai had commanded, He blessed them.
In chapter 40 Adonai instructed Moses to set up the Tabernacle. These instructions deal with three matters:
(1) The physical arrangement of the sanctuary from the interior to the exterior parts and the courtyard curtains;
(2) the consecration of the Tabernacle and everything in it;
(3) The washing, dressing, and the anointing of Aaron with his sons for the priesthood to serve God in His Sanctuary.
Moses did everything Adonai had commanded him. In fact “Moses’ obedience in every detail of setting up the Tabernacle is recorded seven times in this chapter. Adonai is the God of perfect order.
When everything was done exactly as the Lord had commanded, it was then and only then that the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.
A closing thought: we today are living Tabernacles. In the New Covenant we are God’s temple and the oil or anointing of His Holy Spirit dwells in us.
Oil is a familiar biblical symbol of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Tabernacle and priests had to be anointed with oil before their service could begin, so the power of the Holy Spirit is necessary for us today to faithfully carry out our service to God.
Just as oil is necessary for the lamp to give off light, so it is the Holy Spirit who gives us power to shine as the light of the world. Just as oil sanctified priests, so the Holy Spirit sanctifies and cleanses the children of God. We can do nothing without the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
So ask yourself, are you anointed to give and to serve? Have you been set apart for special service? Could it be said of you, that you have given more than enough of your wealth, gifts, talents, time, or abilities?
Let’s pray O Lord anoint us to be generous toward you.