Exodus Chapter 25 Continued
Exodus 25:22 “And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which [are] upon the ark of the testimony, of all [things] which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.”
The place of the Shekinah, or visible manifestation of God’s presence, was to be between the two cherubim over the mercy seat. There God would meet His people, “to speak there unto them” (Exodus 29:42). Either literally, as when He answered inquiries of the high priest by Urim and Thummim, or spiritually, as when He accepted incense, and the blood of offerings, and prayers, offered to Him by the people through their appointed representatives, the priests. It was for the purpose of “meeting” His people that the entire tabernacle was designed. And hence its ordinary name was “the Tent of Meeting,” unhappily rendered in the Authorized Version by the “tabernacle of the congregation” (see note on Exodus 27:21).
God did not want Israel to have an earthly king. God’s plan was that He would rule the people Himself. Moses would come to the Holy of Holies and God would tell Moses what to tell the people. God’s presence would be directly above the mercy seat, which covered the ark that contained the testimony. The Lord’s desire was to fellowship with His people. The fact that the law was inside the ark and the mercy seat covered it and the blood of the Lamb was spread on the mercy seat; shows us that God wanted to have mercy on man instead of judgment. When God looks down, He sees the shed blood of the Lamb and has mercy.
Verses 23-30: Like the Ark of the Covenant, the “table” for the showbread was made of “acacia wood”, a hardwood resistant to insects, and overlaid with gold. The 12 “loaves” of the “showbread” (literally “bread of faces”), represented each of the tribes of Israel (Lev. 24:5-9), and served to “remind” the Lord of His people. The bread also symbolized Christ as the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48).
Exodus 25:23 “Thou shalt also make a table [of] shittim wood: two cubits [shall be] the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.”
The ark and mercy seat, which covered it, constituted the entire furniture of the inner sanctuary, or “Holy of Holies” (Exodus 40:20-21). When this had been shown to Moses the next thing to be done was to set before him the furniture of the outer sanctuary, or holy place. This consisted of three articles.
(1) The table of showbread, described in the present passage;
(2) The golden candlestick, described (in Exodus 25:31-40); and
(3) The altar of incense, described (in Exodus 30:1-10).
The “table of showbread” was a receptacle for the twelve loaves, which were to be “set continually before the Lord” (Lev. 24:8) as a thank-offering on the part of His people, a perpetual acknowledgment of His perpetual protection and favor. It was to be just large enough to contain the twelve loaves, set in two rows, being a yard long, and a foot and a-half broad. The vessels belonging to the table (Exodus 25:29), were not placed on it.
“Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood”: As the sanctuary or tabernacle was a house for God to dwell in, he would have the proper furniture of a house, as a table, candlestick, etc. This table was to be in the same place with the ark and mercy seat. They were set in the Holy of Holies, where there was nothing else but this in the holy place, on the north side of it (Exodus 26:35). Its principal use was to set the showbread on, as after mentioned, and was typical of Christ and communion with him, both in this life and that to come. There is the table of the Lord, to which his people are now admitted, where he sits down with them and they with him.
This “table” is 3 feet long, 18 inches wide and 27 inches high, made with shittim wood. This table of wood was symbolic of earthliness. It would have to be covered with gold.
Exodus 25:24 “And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.”
Like the ark (Exodus 25:11), and the altar of incense (Exodus 30:3), the table was to be overlaid with plates of gold. It was a species of altar, on which lay offerings to God, and, being close to the Divine Presence, required to be made of the best materials.
“A crown of gold round about”: Rather a border or edging of gold, something to prevent what was placed on the table from readily falling off.
Here again in the presence of God, everything had to be pure gold of 24 karat overlay.
Exodus 25:25 “And thou shalt make unto it a border of a handbreadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about.”
Which encompassed, kept together the feet of the table and seems to have been towards the bottom of it.
“A golden crown”: Not the same mentioned before (Exodus 25:24), but another for further ornamentation to the table.
This was like a raised place about 6 inches wide of gold around the table.
Exodus 25:26 “And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that [are] on the four feet thereof.”
Here, again, the “four rings of gold” were so the people who carried the table would not have to touch it.
Exodus 25:27 “Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table.”
Rather, opposite the band, or framing. The meaning is not very clear. If the framing had been at the bottom of the legs, we might have understood that the rings were attached to the table opposite the places where the “framing” was inserted into the legs. But the “framing” appears to have been halfway up the legs (see note on Exodus 25:25), while the rings were at the bottom. They could therefore have only been “opposite the framing” in a loose and vague sense.
Exodus 25:28 “And thou shalt make the staves [of] shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.”
These poles went through the rings and the men carried them with the poles.
Exodus 25:29 “And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: [of] pure gold shalt thou make them.”
“Deep vessels like “bowls,” similar to the large silver vessels (or chargers), which were filled with fine flour, and formed part of the offerings of the Princes of Israel (Num. 7:13).
“Spoons”: Rather, the small gold cups that were filled with frankincense in the offerings of the Princes (Num. 7:14), and represented on the table in the sculpture.
“Covers … bowls”: Or flagons and chalices, such as were used for the rite of the drink offering, which appears to have regularly accompanied every Meat offering (Lev. 23:18; Num. 6:15; 28:14). The subject is important in its bearing upon the meaning of the showbread. The corrected rendering of the words tends to show that it was a true Meat offering.
“To cover withal”: The first part of the verse might be better rendered: And thou shalt make its bowls and its incense-cups and its flagons and its chalices for pouring out “the drink offerings.”
These “dishes”, like everything else that came in close contact with God, had to be pure 24 karat gold or 24 karat gold overlay. These were probably, the vessels in which the bread was brought to the table. These were also, the incense holders. Some of these vessels were used in the drink offerings.
Exodus 25:30 “And thou shalt set upon the table showbread before me always.”
“Set on the table showbread”: Each week a new batch of 12 loaves of bread was laid on a table on the north side of the Holy Place. The utensils for this table were also made of refined gold (verse 29). This “Showbread” was not set out in order to feed Israel’s God, unlike food placed in pagan shrines and temples, but to acknowledge that the 12 tribes were sustained constantly under the watchful eye and care of their Lord. The bread was eaten in the Holy Place each Sabbath by the priest on duty (Lev. 24:5-9). The showbread is understood to typify the Lord Jesus Christ as the Bread which came from heaven (John 6:32-35).
Jesus is the Bread of Life. These loaves were to be a continuous offering. We must eat of the Bread of Life every day to be able to live victorious lives. Salvation is a daily walk. The Bread (Bible), must be consumed continuously to keep us on the right track.
Verses 31-40: The menorah, a most exquisite “lampstand of pure gold”, was the only source of manmade light within the tabernacle. It pointed to Christ as the Light of the World (John 1:9; 3:19; 9:5; 12:46).
Exodus 25:31 “And thou shalt make a candlestick [of] pure gold: [of] beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.”
“Candlestick”: Situated opposite the table of the showbread on the south side of the Holy Place stood an ornate candlestick, or menorah, patterned after a flowering almond tree. It provided light for the priests serving in the Holy Place. Care was taken, according to God’s instructions (27:20-21; 30:7-8; Lev. 24:1-4), to keep it well supplied with pure olive oil so that it would not be extinguished. The candlestick is seen as typifying the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the true Light which came into the world (John 1:6-9; 8:12).
Here again, the Light of the world is Jesus Christ. This “candlestick” symbolizes Him and was all pure 24 karat gold. These “flowers”, “knops”, were decorations on the candlestick.
Exodus 25:32 “And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:”
Out of the trunk or shaft, being beaten out of it.
“Three branches of the candlestick out of one side and the other three branches of the candlestick out of the other side”. Jarchi takes what we render the “shaft” to be the lower part of the candlestick, from whence three feet went out below; and the “branch” or “cane”, for it is in the singular number in the preceding verse, he takes to be the middle branch or trunk that went up from the middle of the foot upwards. And upon it was the middle lamp, in the form of a censer, to pour oil into the midst of it.
Then the six branches went out from the sides of that, here and there drawn obliquely, and went up to the height of the candlestick, which is the middle branch or cane. And they went up from the midst of that middle cane, one above another, the lowermost long, and that above it shorter than that, and the uppermost shorter than that. For the height of the tops of them were equal to the height of the middle cane, that is, the seventh, from whence the six went out.
This was just saying that there were six stems, besides the main stem which holds light. This made seven lights coming from this candlestick. In (Revelation), we read:
Revelation 4:5 “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
Now whether this was the same or not we have no way of knowing. If it was the same, the seven holders of burning light symbolized the seven Spirits of God here, in the Holy place in the tabernacle.
Exodus 25:33 “Three bowls made like unto almonds, [with] a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, [with] a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.”
There were three bowls or cups in the form of almond nuts to each branch, which were either to hold oil for the lamps, as before observed, or, as others think, to catch the snuff which fell from them. And there were a “knop”, which, according to the signification of the word, was in the form of a pomegranate, and a flower, which the Targum of Jonathan renders a lily. And they are both in Scripture emblems of the saints endowed with the gifts and graces of the Spirit.
“And three bowls made like almonds in the other branch”: On the other side of the candlestick, opposite to the former.
“So in the six branches that come out of the candlestick”: There were the same number of bowls, with a knop and a flower in the rest of the branches, as in those mentioned.
This was just saying, that each stem that comes out of the main candlestick stand, had three decorations for the light stem. The shape of the light container was like an almond. Each was decorated with three knops and three flowers. This “knop” meant a wreath-like button. A decoration is the explanation of the knop.
Exodus 25:34 “And in the candlestick [shall be] four bowls made like unto almonds, [with] their knops and their flowers.”
That is, in the trunk or body of it; the branches had but three apiece, but this being larger had four: and these were also made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers; as the bowls on the branches had with them.
Each stem had three decorations on the light stem, but the center had four places decorated one after the other.
Exodus 25:35 “And [there shall be] a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick.”
According to Jarchi, from the middle of the knop (which was like a pomegranate, or, as others, like an apple), two branches were drawn from the two sides of it, here and there; so they teach in the work of the tabernacle. The height of the candlestick was eighteen hands’ breadth: this clause is repeated twice in this verse, signifying there should be a knop under each of the three branches on one side, and three on the other side: for it follows:
“According to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick”: Out of the trunk of it (as in Exodus 25:32).
This was just explaining how this was put together. The buttons were on the bottom side of the bowls.
Exodus 25:36 “Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it [shall be] one beaten work [of] pure gold.”
This should be made of the same metal, the same gold, and of the same mass.
“All of it shall be one beaten work of pure gold”: Not made in parts, and then put and soldered together, but the whole candlestick in all its parts and branches were to be beaten out of one piece of gold.
This was to have no other metals or no alloy at all. This had to be 24 karat gold also.
Exodus 25:37 “And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.”
Literally, thou shalt make its lamps seven. Each branch, as well as the stem, was to have its own lamp. The Arch of Titus shows them to us as hemi-spherical bowls.
“They shall light” (see Note on Exodus 25:31-39 and compare Exodus 27:21; 30:8; Lev. 24:3).
These lights were never to go out. They were to burn continuously. This was symbolic of the fact that the power of Jesus in our lives shall never be diminished. He is a continuous light in our lives.
Exodus 25:38 “And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, [shall be of] pure gold.”
“Tongs,” or pincers, were required for trimming the wicks of the lamps, and removing loose portions; “snuffdishes” for receiving the fragments thus removed.
This “snuffdish” was something with which to pick up the fragments from the wicks. These tongs were used in trimming the wicks of the lamps. They too, were to be made of pure gold.
Exodus 25:39 “[Of] a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.”
“Talent”: The heavy common talent, used in New Testament times, was 58.9 kilograms (130 pounds).
Exodus 25:40 “And look that thou make [them] after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount.”
Or see that they are made by workmen employed.
“After their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount”: From whence it appears, that as Moses was shown the model of the tabernacle, so also of the candlestick, and of all its appurtenances, and of every other vessel in it. And he is strictly charged to look carefully and diligently to it, that everything was done exactly according to the model he had a view of. In which everything was particularly described, and nothing was left to the will, humor, and fancy of men.
He was not to vary in design, raw material or size, or even in the most minute point; but was to make everything exactly as he had seen, and by God’s instruction.
The tabernacle and everything in it was God caring for mankind. This was a place where God met with man.
Exodus Chapter 25 Continued Questions
1. Where will God commune with Moses?
2. Who was to rule Israel?
3. How do we know that God wanted to have mercy on His people?
4. What was the table to be made of?
5. What were the dimensions of the table?
6. What covered the ark?
7. What was it made of?
8. How wide was the border on the table to be?
9. Where were the four gold rings to be mounted?
10. What were the rings used for?
11. What were all of the small vessels to be made of?
12. What were some of the things these vessels were used for?
13. Who is the Bread of Life?
14. Salvation is a _______ __________.
15. What metal was the candlestick to be made of?
16. Who is the Light of the world?
17. What were the flowers and knops?
18. How many light holders were on the candlestick?
19. What were they, perhaps, symbolic of?
20. What was different about the center stand and the six stems that branched off from it?
21. How often were the lights to burn?
22. What was the snuffdish for?
23. What was the use of the tongs?
24. What did God warn Moses to do?
25. What was the tabernacle and everything in it, really?