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Verses of Exodus 40

33

Exodus 40:33 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

DISCOURSE: 118
ERECTING OF THE TABERNACLE

Exo 40:33-34. So Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

AN union of many hands and much zeal must of necessity expedite any work that is undertaken. So it proved in the constructing of the tabernacle; the whole of which, notwithstanding the exquisite skill and workmanship with which every part of it was formed, was in about the space of seven months completely finished, so as to be capable of being all erected, and brought into use in one single day. Such activity could not but be highly pleasing to God, in whose service it was employed. Accordingly we find that he immediately testified his approbation of it by a most astonishing act of condescension and grace.
That we may see the subject in its true light, let us inquire into,

I.

The work here referred to—

This was the constructing of the tabernacle; a work of singular excellency and importance, whether it be considered in itself, or in its typical design. Let us view it,

1.

In itself—

[It will be proper to notice briefly its form. There was a court about sixty yards long, and thirty broad, enclosed by linen curtains, suspended about nine feet high on brasen pillars. Within that, at the west end of it, was a structure, about eighteen yards long, and six broad, made with boards of Shittim wood, covered with gold, and fastened together by bars of the same materials. The boards were forty-eight in number, fixed in ninety-six sockets of silver, each of them about an hundred pounds weight. The whole was covered first with curtains of fine embroidered linen, and then with three other coverings, one of goats’ hair, another of rams’ skins dyed red, and another of badgers’ skins. This structure was divided into two apartments, called the holy place, and the holy of holies; the former being about twelve yards by six; and the latter six yards square, and as many high. The entrance to each of these was from the east, (as was that of the outward court also,) each leading to the other through a veil of embroidered linen.

The furniture of the whole was quite appropriate. In the outer court, (to which all clean Hebrews and proselytes had access,) was the brasen altar, on which the sacrifices were offered, and the brasen laver, in which the priests and Levites were to purify themselves. In the holy place (into which the priests were admitted) was the candlestick, the table of shewbread, and the altar of incense. In the holy of holies (where the high-priest alone entered, and that only on one day in the year,) was the ark, covered by the mercy-seat; on which abode the Shechinah (the bright cloud, the symbol of the Deity), between cherubim. In the ark the tables of the law were deposited: and at a subsequent period, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the golden pot that had the manna, were laid up before it [Note: Compare Heb 9:4-5 with 1Ki 8:9.].

We need not enter minutely into these things: it will be more instructive, after taking this summary view of the whole, to notice it,]

2.

In its typical design—

[In interpreting the types, we must bear in mind that the greater part of them had reference to Christ in one view, and to his Church and people in another view. This was particularly the case with respect to the tabernacle.
it typified, in the first place, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord himself, speaking of his own body, says, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again [Note: Joh 2:19; Joh 2:21.].” And in the Epistle to the Hebrews, his body is represented as that “more perfect tabernacle in which he ministered, and which was not made with hands, as the other was, but by the immediate agency of the Holy Ghost [Note: Heb 8:2; Heb 9:9-11.].” The correspondence between the two is obvious: for “in Him dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily:” and through his atoning sacrifice, and sanctifying grace, and prevailing intercession, we all are brought into a state of acceptance with God. On the other hand, as there was no way to the Mercy-seat but through the Holy Place, “so no man can now come unto the Father but by him.”

It further typified the Church, which, though mean without, “is all glorious within.” In that alone is any acceptable sacrifice offered unto God. In that alone are the sanctifying operations of the Spirit experienced. In that alone is the bread of life administered, or the light of truth exhibited. In that alone does God manifest his glory, or communicate his saving benefits. Hence the beloved disciple, speaking of the Church in the latter days, says, “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 [Note: Rev 21:3.].”

Once more, it typified heaven also. Remarkable is the language of the Apostle, who says, “Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us [Note: Heb 9:24.].” There, not the symbol of the Deity, but all the glory of the Godhead, is unveiled. There the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving ascend up with a sweet odour unto God continually. There the illumination, the nourishment, the purity of every soul is complete. No veil obstructs the view, or forbids the access, of any individual: the beatific vision is vouchsafed to all, and the full fruition of their God is the portion of all the saints.]

If we judged only from the minuteness of the orders which God gave respecting this work, we should conceive highly of its importance: but still more shall we see it, if we consider,

II.

The testimony of his approbation with which God honoured it—

[We must bear in mind that Israel had sinned a grievous sin; that, at the intercession of Moses, God had turned away from his holy indignation, and promised to continue with them as their God. In token of his reconciliation, he ordered this tabernacle to be made for him: and the very day it was erected, he came down visibly to take possession of it as his peculiar residence, and so filled it with his glory, that Moses himself could no longer stand to minister there [Note: 5.]. Now whilst this testified his approbation of their work, and of those who had been engaged in it, it shewed to all future generations, that He will return to those in lore and mercy, who return to him in a way of penitence and active obedience.

In this view, we are led to consider this event, not as relating to the Israelites merely, but as speaking to us. Where is the nation, where the church, where the individual, who has not given just occasion to the Lord to shut up his loving-kindness in displeasure? — — — Yet where is there to be found, in the annals of the world, one single instance, wherein God has turned a deaf ear to the supplications of a real penitent? Instances to the contrary are without number — — — And God, as in the history before us, has seemed ambitious, as it were, to make “his grace abound, not only where sin had abounded,” but (I had almost said) in proportion as sin had abounded — — —We must be careful not to “limit the Holy One of Israel,” whose “ways and thoughts are as far above ours, as the heavens are above the earth.” We are apt to forget that he is the same God now, as he was in the days of old: but “he changeth not:” and if his manifestations be less visible than formerly, they are not a whit less real, or less gracious [Note: 2Co 6:16 and Joh 14:21.].]

Application—

[The day on which this work was finished was the first day of the year. What a blessed commencement was it of the new year! How sweet must have been the retrospect to all who had been engaged in the work, when they saw that they had not spent the preceding year in vain! Each could call to mind some sacrifices which he had made for God, or some exertions used in his service: and they would enter on the new year with a determined purpose to serve and honour God more than they had ever yet done. Beloved Brethren, is it so with you? Have you in your consciences an evidence that you have lived for God, and made it a principal object of your life to serve and honour him? — — — But, however the past year may have been spent, bethink yourselves now what work you have to do for him, and how you may perfect it with expedition and care. And O that we may speedily have such a day amongst us as the Israelites enjoyed; all of us presenting to him our souls and bodies for his habitation, and receiving from him undoubted tokens of his favourable regard!]

Verses of Exodus 40

33

Consult other comments:

Exodus 40:33 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 40:33 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Exodus 40:33 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Exodus 40:33 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 40:33 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Exodus 40:33 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 40:33 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Exodus 40:33 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)