Sardis – red
Topaz – rich yellow luster
Emerald – clear green
Carbuncle – red garnet
Sapphire – deep blue
Diamond – sparkling white
Amber- bright yellow
Agate – delicate blue
Beryl – green-yellow
Onyx – bright yellow
Jasper – pure and clear
Friday, October 5, 2012
THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS: GOD’S DWELLING PLACE (Part 2)
THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS:
GOD’S DWELLING PLACE (Part 2)
THE FREEWILL HEAVE OFFERING
“Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.” Exodus 25:2 (NKJV)
The freewill heave offering was one of the most important aspects to the building of the tabernacle. If the children of Israel refused to give freely of what they had to God and Moses, there probably wouldn’t have been a tabernacle built.
Look at it from this point of view: God has given each one of us freewill to live as we choose to live, whether it be for Him or for ourselves. When He made Adam and Eve, He made them with freewill; freewill to follow His commandments or freewill to follow their own inclinations; which they did. We are still reaping the consequences of that decision and will continue to do so until Christ Jesus returns.
We have the freewill to attend church on Sunday, read our bibles daily, pray and do those things which are pleasing to the Lord. We also have the freewill to live as though He doesn’t exist. Of course, there are still the consequences of those choices we have to face; just as Adam and Eve did.
When the children of Israel left Egypt, they didn’t leave empty-handed. They didn’t slink out of the country with their tails between their legs. They left with bounty from their captors. Gold, silver, fine linen, jewels, spices, bronze and more were given to them from the Egyptians.
Look back at Exodus 11 verses 2 and 3:
“Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold. And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. More-over the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.” (Emphasis mine)
Now we know where the materials came from. It was given freely to the children of Israel by their Egyptian captors and they in turn freely gave it to God. Freewill.
This freewill heave offering and any other freewill offering comes from the heart. It’s a heart position. It has nothing to do with the mind other than it agrees with the heart of each person who is so thankful for all that the Lord has done, that out of the heart pours the cry “What may I do for God, He who has given me eternal life with Him.”
Thank you Lord, for Your free gift of salvation. It was made possible because of Your freewill offering, to take the place of sinful man. Because of You, we are now brought into a right relationship with the Father. Amen.
From verse 3 through verse 7 of Exodus 25, we see exactly what the offering is that the Lord wanted to be freely given. Why was God so specific on what was to be given? The answer may surprise you!
Let us look more closely to these offerings.
“Thar’s gold in them hills!” Oh wait, wrong line; but, maybe not. Isn’t that what we think of when we think of gold? Yes it’s a precious metal. But how many people lost their lives to greed when it came to the gold rush; so much loss just because of a soft, shiny, difficult to get a hold of metal. Isn’t it something how the devil twists something beautiful from God into ugliness and death?
Thank the Lord, God it has a different meaning and a different purpose. He uses the very things we have, that we have freely given Him, the ugly and good and uses it for His purposes. Why? So we can see Him be glorified in our lives.
Gold is mentioned eighty times in connection to the heave offering. Look it up! Pure, refined gold is mentioned twenty-one times. It is estimated by various commentators of the bible that the weight of the heave offering in gold totaled twenty-nine talents and 730 shekels. That’s approximately 1.65 tons. That was a lot of gold!
Gold was important in building the tabernacle because of what it represented. Gold speaks of Deity, the Divine nature, the Kingly nature, the Glory of God and God the Father. Christ our King. It also speaks of the faith of saints. (Job 23:10; I Peter 1:7; 2 Peter 1:4; Revelation 21:21)
One of the gifts the wisemen brought to the baby Jesus was gold. Gold was a gift that was given to kings.
“And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11 NKJV)
“And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:16 NKJV)
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11 NKJV)
Later we will learn how that gold will be used. Every bit of it will point to Christ our King and Lord.
Just as gold speaks of the divine nature of Jesus, silver has much to tell, as well. Shall we listen?
It is mentioned twenty-two times in connection with the construction of the tabernacle. The total weight of the silver used was 100 talents and 1,775 shekels; or how about we say it this way, 4.85 tons. That’s a lot of silver.
Silver speaks of Redemption, the atonement, ransom money and God the Son, Christ our Redeemer. It is best seen in the price paid for the betrayal of Christ who was our ransom. The silver given was derived from the atonement money of every man twenty year and older that had to be paid. Atonement money is mentioned fourteen times in the Bible. (Genesis 37:28; Exodus 30:11-16; Zechariah 11:12-13; I Peter 1:18-20; Leviticus 5:15; 27:3-6; Numbers 3:44-51; Exodus 36:24; Psalm 68:12; I Corinthians 3:12-15; Matthew 27:3-9)
Bronze: a symbol of strength. It originated mostly from the island of Cyprus. This is a metal that is extremely fire-resistant which is a good thing when later we see how it is used in the construction of the tabernacle. It is named thirty-five times in its use for the tabernacle. The total weight given in the freewill heave offering was seven talents and 2,400 shekels or 3.3 tons. Could you imagine carrying around that much bronze?
Bronze isn’t just a symbol of strength, is also symbolizes judgment against sin and God the Holy Spirit, as well as the Tested, Suffering and Judged One, who withstood the fury of God’s wrath. It is Christ, the Judge of all sin.
Bronze, is known for its exceptional strength. Its resistance to fire is very great, its melting point is 1,985 degrees Fahrenheit, thirty-six degrees higher than gold. (Deuteronomy 28:13-23; Numbers 21:5-9; Job 40:18; Isaiah 4:4; Revelation 1:12-15)
Please note there is no iron use in making the tabernacle. Iron is a military metal and this was a house of God.
Now we will look at the cloth and threads and spices and jewels given in the freewill heave offering.
BLUE, PURPLE AND SCARLET THREAD
Oh, there is so much to say about this thread; the scarlet thread of redemption that weaves throughout the Old Testament, blue thread, the color of heaven and purple thread used for costly array.
Beginning with the blue thread, this was a deep blue that looked more like bright violet; such a color that is seen in the heavens of the East. Blue then depicts the color of the heavens. God chose this color because He knew the children of Israel would remember He is Lord of all creation, including the heavens. In describing the gospels of the New Testament, blue would be the color for the Gospel of John which portrays Jesus Christ as the Lord over heaven and earth.
There is so much more I could say about this color, but there just isn’t enough room. So the next time you see a blue that captures the awesome beauty of the heavens, remember your Creator and Savior. Christ Jesus. (Exodus 2:10; Ezekiel 1:26; I Corinthians 15:47-49)
Now we are going to look at my favorite color, the color of royalty. Purple. This is also the color of kingship. This is the color one would use in describing the Gospel of Matthew because Matthew portrayed Christ as King and His kingdom.
The color is believed to be derived from the secretions of a gland of a purple snail that was to be found in Middle East.
Purple is also a blend of blue and scarlet, and that gives us the picture of the God-Man, Son of God and Son of Man, Christ our King. (Judges 8:26; Luke 16:19; John 19:1-3)
This next color, scarlet, is one that should be dear to us as well. Scarlet, the color of arterial blood. It is also known as crimson. It speaks, nay, shouts for all to hear, of sacrifice, the Redemptive work of Christ in the Atonement. His blood that was shed for each and every one of us. Our perfect Sacrifice. This color is perfect for describing the Gospel of Mark, who portrayed the suffering Servanthood of Christ Jesus our Sacrifice. (Leviticus 17:11; Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 53; Psalm 22)
Give thanks to the Lord for His willing sacrifice, to die for us, shed His blood for us, so we might be saved. Give praise to Him for He is King of kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator of the heavens and earth, worthy of all glory, honor and praise. Praise the Lord.
We now have the threads to sew with, but what shall we sew on? Fine linen or another name, byssus. This was the finest and costly of all linens. Remember, the children of Israel got all of these things to offer for this offering from the Egyptians. They were given the best of the best and that included this costly, fine linen.
This fine linen speaks of righteousness of Christ. It speaks of His spotless purity and sinlessness. Here we have Christ our Righteousness. It also speaks of the righteousness of the saints. (Revelation 15:5-6; 19:6-16)
From fine linen we go to goat hair. Most of the goats in the Middle East were “oriental” goats. Most of them had long hair and the predominate color was probably black.
When the children of Israel left Egypt they also took their flocks and herds. The goats were part of the herds. Goats were used primarily for the sin offering. Goat hair coverings talk to us of the faithful and true Witness, the Prophet of God in simplicity and of poverty and sin. (Leviticus 4:22-29; 16:15-16; Hebrews 9:12)
Now look at the ram skins dyed red. These were used in the second covering of the tabernacle. Ram skins are the symbol of consecration, dedication and substitution. As the Leader and Protector of His flock it is a symbol of His dedication and His submission even to the death. (Genesis 22:13-14; Exodus 29)
Then last but not least are the badger skins. Some translations say they may be porpoise or some other large marine animal ten feet in length found in the Red Sea. They would have been used for waterproofing. They were unattractive, plain-looking skins. These skins speak to us of the humanity of Christ, they point to His earthly body which had no form or comeliness or beauty that we should desire Him. His beauty was hidden behind the external. The separated and lonely One who guards the honor of God. (Isaiah 52:14; Isaiah 53:1-3; Ezekiel 16:10; Psalm 104:18; Proverbs 30:26)
Skins are used for covering and protection. So here we see Christ our covering before God, the Ram of Substitution and consecrated to God.
We have covered a lot of items here and we are almost done. There are just a few more items left. So bear with me as we go through them.
Acacia (shittim) wood was also given in the offering. This wood was possibly a species of mimosa, whose wood was darker and harder than oak. It is also incorruptible, durable and was avoided by wood-eating insects. It bore heavy, sharp thorns.
The wood being a product of the earth speaks to us of Christ’s human nature. Being incorruptible speaks of the sinless humanity of the Lord, who is the righteous branch, the Root out of dry ground, the Stem of Jesse, the Branch. It also portrays in Christ the redeemed humanity of His body and the Church. (Isaiah 11:1-3, 10; Jeremiah 25:5-6; Revelation 22:16; Isaiah 53:3; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12)
Oil for light was made from carefully crushed olives in a mortar. The first drops were especially pure. The oil served as fuel for the Gold Lampstand.
Oil is always symbolic of the Holy Spirit. It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to enlighten our eyes to the Word of God. It is also the reflection of God as His Anointed, full of the Holy Spirit and power. (I John 2:20, 27; John 1:41)
The Children of Israel also gave spices for the anointing oil and for sweet smelling incense. Different spices were used. Whether for the anointing oil or sweet incense, the fragrance was released through the bruising of the blossoms and leaves. What a picture of Christ’s sufferings for us! He was bruised for our iniquities. (Isaiah 53:5)
Sweet smelling spices were the fragrant perfume for God. It brought joy to the heart of the Father.
The spices used for the anointing oil were myrrh (mentioned in Proverbs 7:17; Esther 2:12; John 19:39 and Matthew 2:11) – it was used for embalming, as a stimulant in medicine, as a perfume and it is symbolic as man that should die; cinnamon; a species of a laurel bush, sweet-smelling cane (smells like ginger) and Cassia which comes from the dried flowers of the cinnamon tree. (Psalm 45:8)
The anointing oil itself speaks of the ministry of the Holy Spirit who anoints us to minister. The spices speak of the graces, character, fruit and different operations of the Holy Spirit. (I Samuel 16:13; I John 2:20, 27; Galatians 5:22-23; Song of Solomon 4:16)
The spices used for the sweet incense were galbanum (a bitter gum used to drive away insects, it had to lose its identity by being crushed fine.) Hebrews 5:7; Isaiah 53. Frankincense – this is white in color. White speaks of purity and righteousness. It was one of the gifts laid before the Son of Righteousness. Frankincense is symbolic of the holiness of God and prayer. Placed on the showbread and burned there, but it was never allowed to be used with the burnt offering. (Leviticus 5:11; 24:7; 2:1; Psalm 141:2; Song of Solomon 4:6; John 19:39; I Chronicles 9:29; Matthew 2:11; Revelation 8:3-4)
Stacte was another fragrant gum that was used. The name itself means “to drop” or “to distill.” In order for it to be used it also had to be crushed fine. (Deuteronomy 32:1-2.) Onycha was the ground shell-fish taken from the Red sea. It received its fragrance from the things upon which it fed. This too was finely crushed for incense.
The last but not least ingredient for the sweet smelling incense was salt. Salt, as we know, is a seasoning and a preservative. Salt speaks of speech that is pure, tasty, and full of grace. (Colossians 4:6) It has an enduring quality. God gave David a Covenant of Salt (2 Chronicles 13:5.) And all this is included in the New Covenant in Christ (Matthew 26:26-28; Leviticus 2:13; Matthew 5:13; Mark 9:49-50.)
The last item to cover in our freewill offering is precious stones. I am only going to touch on these briefly because we will get into them more when we get to the High Priest’s breastplate.
The twelve precious stones were chosen for the breastplate of the high priest. They were arranged in four rows of three stones each. The stones speak of the various gifts of the Holy Spirit, the glories of the saints, the preciousness of God’s own people and the righteous acts of the children of God. They are witness to both the Word and the Spirit. They also are His selected ones (the 12 tribes of Israel and us), highly valued of God, because He bought them at a great cost.
Please note, because the names of the stones were in ancient Hebrew and not used often, this list is only one of several interpretations of the names of the stones. These names aren’t “set in stone” so to speak.
Well, I don’t know about you, but if I had to carry all of that around I would be plum wore-out! But the children of Israel did. How little did they know how each article they held was a symbol of Christ, the Messiah.
The next time we get together we will talk about the ransom money and the silver trumpets.
Until then, may the Lord bless you and keep you safe. May he bless all that you put your hands to and may His precious presence be with you wherever you go, His sweet fragrance a testimony in your life. Amen.