A Current Bible Study:
Exodus, Chapter 27
"Finding God"

        Hello, again, beloved. Two studies ago we were looking at the Light of Faith in Exodus, chapter 1. This study, taken loosely from chapter 27, retains that same basic theme. We are mining from the same vein but we hope to discover some new gems! Let's start with an overview of this middle section of the Book of Exodus. Please notice all that God is communicating to His Old Covenant people through Moses. This is at the time they had arrived at Mount Sinai:
Chapter in Exodus
Message for the Israel
Ex 20
The Ten Commandments
Ex 21-23
Specific illustrations and examples to go with the commandments
Ex 24
How to approach God, communication and communion
Ex 25
 Offerings established to support the work of the Lord, building instructions for the Ark of the Covenant and Tabernacle furniture
Ex 26
Instructions for the hanging curtains of the Tabernacle structure
Ex 27
(This is the chapter we are SUPPOSED to be studying. Hang in there, beloved!)
How to build the altar and courtyard curtains, lamp instructions
Ex 28-31
Calling of the priests and priestly procedures given and explained

You may be familiar with the setting for these commands. Moses is up on Mount Sinai receiving the Lord's instructions. In chapter 32, he will come down from the mountain and find the people totally reverted to heathenism (talking Aaron, his brother, into going along!). Then Moses smashes the written 10 Commandments, and they have to start over again with the Lord. But in getting back to my point, I need to ask two questions:
1. Does God seem to care about how we approach Him?
2. Do the details matter in religion, as far as God is concerned?
        I hope you will agree with me that the answer to both questions is a resounding yes. Just look at all the details God gives Moses in Exodus 20-31. We hear today, too often, that all religions are equal, and that the details really don't matter. But, if details mattered so much to the Lord of the Old Covenant, surely He must still care about that today.
       Later on, as we close, I will attempt to show some harmony between this part of the Old Testament and selected parts of the New Testament. Prior to that, let's zoom in on Exodus 27, since it was this chapter, especially the end of it, that actually inspired our study:

The Altar

Verses 6-8-"And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittum wood, and overlay them with brass. And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it. Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it."
Lovely, functional, and portable, this "temple" in the wilderness had to meet many requirements. And the Lord was eager to give all those details. There's so much more. Let's look at another small, but meticulous, sample from this chapter:

The Courtyard

Verses 16-18-"And for the gate of the court shall be a hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four. All the pillars round about the court shall be filleted with silver; their hooks shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass. The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass."

        And then, beloved, God said there was to be a seven-pronged, golden, lampstand. Specifications for its construction were given back in chapter 25, verses 31-40. But here we see directions for its use:

The Golden Lampstand

Verses 20-21-"And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the Lord: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel."
        Look at this illustration (by N. McNulty) of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. It is set at evening time and you can see several lights burning. In and around the rear of the Tabernacle is the Shekinah Glory Light which was the very presence of the Lord in their camp. There is a fire at the altar in the Courtyard. And several smaller lights throughout the Camp where the people would set up their tents by ranks so as to swarm the Tabernacle Courtyard.
        Imagine the hours rolling by until, one by one, the lamps and fires associated with the tents of God's people would be extinguished for sleeping. Altar activity would cease, no doubt, late in the night. The Shekinah Light is visible, of course, but zoned off behind a veil and if anyone, even a priest, approaches it, he would die. But now imagine a look at the front of the Tabernacle. Here in the wee hours it's glowing warmly. All night long.
        There used to be a homely ad on TV about a hotel that promised: "We'll leave the light on for ya!" I really think that's exactly what God is telling Moses and Aaron to do in His Tabernacle. Think about a Jew or even a stranger wandering through the Camp, very late. That lampstand would become quite significant there in the darkness. This is the key to our study, beloved. For the light of this golden lampstand, I believe, is carried over into the New Covenant in some very special ways.

        As promised earlier, here are some passages that, at least to me, show harmony between this section of Exodus and the New Testament. Our Covenant is different, but no less specific than the one that Moses was given:
N.T. Passage
Passage Summary 
Comparison to Exodus
Matthew 17:5
Disciples see Christ gloriously transfigured on a mountain as God's voice calling from a "bright" cloud unequivocally commends Jesus to them.
1.A Shekinah Cloud
2.The Voice of God
3.Instructions to heed 
God's Chosen Messenger
John 8:45-59
Jesus tries to explain Himself to the Jews of His day
1.Note the effort to bear with unbelief and explain the Truth in detail with illustrations
2.Jesus speaks with the Authority of God. He is the N.T.voice of God
Mark 12: 28-34
Jesus gives the "Golden Rules" of the New Covenant
1.These two commandments encompass the ten commandments of Exodus 20
2.They surpass them, also, by the way! (see Mark 12:31b)
Luke 22: 67-71
 Jesus in custody and being interrogated by the Jews prior to His Glorification
1.Christ is the New Sacrifice Offering
2.Unbelief still carrying a curse

        Finally, beloved, let's look for that golden lampstand and its equivalent in our Covenant. And here I have some great news. For I am led to believe that God's message to us and the world today STILL is: "We'll leave the light on for ya!" Just like in His Tabernacle. He still wants the world to be able to easily find His location, especially in the darkness of night. Listen to what Jesus says to us:
John 8:12-"Then spake Jesus unto them saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

        That is the good news, beloved. But there is a catch, and it chills me to the bone. For before He returned to Heaven and sent down His Spirit to indwell the believers of Earth, Jesus also said this:
Matthew 5:14-16-"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Yes, WE are now the Light of the world . We are the golden lampstand of the New Testament, locating, welcoming, and introducing the world to God! Speaking for myself, beloved, I'm just not up to it. Remember that lampstand had to burn all night long, and that eternally.
        But the darker this world gets, the more significant our "Light" (or "Love" for God and man) will become. Flashlights aren't popular at noontime. The value of a flashlight increases greatly with darkness. God needs you today, beloved. He needs me. He needs every believer to show others just where He can be found. Jesus did that. And the very last book of the New Testament shows us that Jesus is the High Priest of OUR Light (remember Exodus 27:21b). He's vigilantly maintaining and guarding our testimony to our world. He is more than ready to help us all shine and keep on shining. Jesus is the Church's great hope, today. He's our only hope, beloved:

Revelation 1:12-13-"And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle."
 

May Jesus Christ richly bless you-JKD 6/30/06
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