Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Recap: Chapter by Chapter in Exodus 25 to 27

Yikes! After our best posting month ever, it looks like we are falling behind on regular posts again. My bad. Incidentally, for those of you who are doing the Chronological Bible Reading Plan, I think I have a solution to getting through these blueprint chapters: use your unrest to think about how the Israelis must have been feeling - what feels to us like a long 4 days for us was actually 40 days for them. In that mindset we begin to realize that the sin of worshiping the golden calf seems almost natural after waiting so long. Of course we recognize that we could have done the same thing, and that is a scary thought! And also, imagine how cool it was for Yahweh to outline what He wanted organized religion to look like: reverent, repentant, pregnant with symbolism, structured, and thoughtful. Not to mention full of love for God and neighbor. Moses had quite the experience.

Exodus 25 The list of Temple furniture seems randomly thrown together and out of order - most likely assembled from notes, journals, and drawings that Moses would have left behind with Joshua. There could be a method to the (apparent) madness according to how these pieces are arranged, but so far I am not seeing it. Just one observation here: The mercy seat is the height of perfection in the Meeting Tent; from the solid gold cover, to the cherubim being made of one piece with the rest of the lid, to the worshipful (head down) posture of the angels, the whole thing is a picture of purity (solid gold - all of one piece) and worship (cherubim facing down).

Exodus 26 Construction plans for the tent itself. The whole tent-temple (tentple?) is both inclusive and exclusive - inclusive in that Yahweh is shown to be in the midst of Israel; exclusive in that the closer to the Holiest Place you went, the less people were allowed to enter into it. It served to bring God closer to the people, but also to keep Him an obvious and reverent distance away from them. No one could enter the courtyard except for Levites; no one could enter the tent except for Aaron's family, and no one could enter the Holiest Place except for Aaron - and, even then, only once a year.

Exodus 27 The altar in the court yard was made of bronze; it had kind of an olympic-flame theme going on, meaning the fire on it was never supposed to go out. This is where all of the animal sacrifices would have been done, and the sand underneath would have soaked up (and covered) the massive amounts of blood shed on that altar. When I think of how many bulls, goats, sheep, and birds were given to this thing, I think of Jesus: the priests had to sacrifice many animals all the time, but Jesus' blood only needed to be shed once; the priests were sinners, but Jesus -the great Priest- had no sin of His own to atone for on any altar; the Priests died and were replaced by later generations, but Jesus conquered death by the resurrection and always make intercession for us: Jesus is the better sacrifice, the better priest, and the better altar.

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