Exodus 37 (NRSV)
Making the Ark of the Covenant
Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood; it was two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. 2He overlaid it with pure gold inside and outside, and made a molding of gold around it. 3He cast for it four rings of gold for its four feet, two rings on its one side and two rings on its other side. 4He made poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold, 5and put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark.
The ark was a chest made of wood and overlaid with pure gold. It pointed to the humanity and deity of our Lord. It contained the tablets of the law, the golden jar of manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded. If applied to Christ, these things speak of Him as the One who said, “Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8); as the bread of God come down from heaven (John 6:33); and as the Priest of God’s choosing, risen from the dead (Hebrews 7:24-26). If applied to the people of Israel, they were all memorials of failure and rebellion.
–all comments in red are by William MacDonald
6He made a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half was its length, and a cubit and a half its width. 7He made two cherubim of hammered gold; at the two ends of the mercy seat he made them, 8one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat he made the cherubim at its two ends. 9The cherubim spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings. They faced one another; the faces of the cherubim were turned toward the mercy seat.
The mercy seat was the lid of the ark. It was also God’s throne, the place of His dwelling on earth. When the cherubim looked down upon it, they did not see the Law or the jar of manna or the rod, all of which were reminders of Israel’s rebellions. Rather, they saw the sprinkled blood, which enabled God to be merciful to rebellious sinners.
Romans 3:21-26 (New Living Translation)
But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Making the Table for the Bread of the Presence
10He also made the table of acacia wood, two cubits long, one cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high. 11He overlaid it with pure gold, and made a molding of gold around it. 12He made around it a rim a handbreadth wide, and made a molding of gold around the rim. 13He cast for it four rings of gold, and fastened the rings to the four corners at its four legs. 14The rings that held the poles used for carrying the table were close to the rim. 15He made the poles of acacia wood to carry the table, and overlaid them with gold. 16And he made the vessels of pure gold that were to be on the table, its plates and dishes for incense, and its bowls and flagons with which to pour drink offerings.
John 6:35 (New International Version)
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry.”
Making the Lampstand
17He also made the lampstand of pure gold. The base and the shaft of the lampstand were made of hammered work; its cups, its calyxes, and its petals were of one piece with it. 18There were six branches going out of its sides, three branches of the lampstand out of one side of it and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side of it; 19three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with calyx and petals, on one branch, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with calyx and petals, on the other branch—so for the six branches going out of the lampstand. 20On the lampstand itself there were four cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with its calyxes and petals. 21There was a calyx of one piece with it under the first pair of branches, a calyx of one piece with it under the next pair of branches, and a calyx of one piece with it under the last pair of branches. 22Their calyxes and their branches were of one piece with it, the whole of it one hammered piece of pure gold.
23He made its seven lamps and its snuffers and its trays of pure gold. 24He made it and all its utensils of a talent of pure gold.
John 8:12 (New International Version)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Making the Altar of Incense
25He made the altar of incense of acacia wood, one cubit long, and one cubit wide; it was square, and was two cubits high; its horns were of one piece with it. 26He overlaid it with pure gold, its top, and its sides all around, and its horns; and he made for it a molding of gold all around, 27and made two golden rings for it under its molding, on two opposite sides of it, to hold the poles with which to carry it. 28And he made the poles of acacia wood, and overlaid them with gold.
The altar of incense speaks of Christ being a perpetual sweet aroma of God. It also suggests the present ministry of the Lord Jesus, interceding for us in heaven.
29He made the holy anointing oil also, and the pure fragrant incense, blended as by the perfumer.
Hebrews 7:23-25 (New International Version)
Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
All this careful preparation for the tabernacle — first in God’s mind, then told to Moses, and now being executed in physical form — so that people could be forgiven and be able to say, “I am Yours.” Such love for us from God Almighty! HERE we join with Casting Crowns singing “Who Am I.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.