You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?
Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.
Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, when you come into someone's home, how do you know you're welcome there? How do you know you're welcome?
Well, two things. The lights are on and there's food on the table. And the fragrance of the food sometimes says welcome. Come in, I'm ready for you. Well, believe it or not, that's how God says we're welcome in His house.
We'll see it today on More Than Ink. Well, good morning and welcome to our dining room table. I'm Dorothy.
And I'm Jim. And it's a beautiful morning and we are here today in Exodus 25 talking about the furnishings in the tabernacle. Stuff inside. Well, the place where God has said, now build me a tent and I will dwell with you there in your midst. And so last week we talked about the temple or the tabernacle itself and then the Ark of the Covenant, the most holy thing in the deepest, most holy place.
Yeah, top of the list. Top of the list is the Ark of the Covenant and it means a lot. And we talked a little bit about the incredible detail that was given regarding the building of these things. So today we have before us a couple of more furnishings. Now, these are not actually in the Holy of Holies with the Ark, but they are outside that veil, which we actually haven't gotten instruction about the veil yet. But it is inside the tabernacle. But the next thing on the list that God communicates to Moses is the table for the bread and the golden lampstand. And so these are very interesting pictures.
And I'll remind you again, if you didn't hear last time, there's great, every one of these things has great teaching opportunity to it. God is not arbitrary in how he designs what he's putting in here. They're meant to be so that when you see them, either in your mind's eyes, read them here or see them for real, they'll make you stop and say, I think I know something about the God who lives in this tent. And that's important because if God's using the picture of this is my tent where I dwell among you, well, you know, every place where you live, if you're going to live in a tent, you have to have a table to eat. And you have to have something to give you light in there because old fashioned tents didn't necessarily have windows. And what you keep in the tent are the most precious things that are required for your life.
Yeah. So since this, the purpose of this we saw in chapter 25 verse 8 is to make a sanctuary that I may dwell in your midst. Then these things are going to reflect the very nature and character of God in his intention to dwell in our midst. So they all have meaning that you can, at least I have been chewing on my entire life about what this represents and what this is saying and what does it say when I see something like this? So listen very carefully to the very specific design specifications for these things that are going to be inside God's tent, inside his portable house and ask yourself, what is this telling me about God? And what is this telling me about the opportunities I might have to be in God's presence and to draw near to him?
What is this telling me? And last time I mentioned just slightly, quickly, in the Ark for me, since the Ark is holding, will hold, we don't know yet, but I'll tell you ahead of time, plot spoiler, the Ten Commandments will be in there. There'll be more in fact, but the things in there represent God's word to the nation of Israel, his commitment to the nation of Israel, and their testimonies, their witnesses to those words. Their statements of truth of the most holy things that God wants his people to know and understand.
Exactly. And so they're put in a box that looks extraordinarily holy, covered with gold, covered with symbols of two cherubim who are kind of the guardians of heaven. It's a very precious, precious thing and it's wrapped together in this vision of it being like a throne of God himself. So it tells you a ton.
You can work on it all your life. And now we didn't talk last week at all about the gold, right? And gold through the ages has always been recognized as the most precious, most beautiful metal. And when we read about the Ark, we really didn't emphasize the fact that God said, now cover the outside of it and cover the inside. The part that no one will ever see again is, you know, why would you waste the gold putting it in there? Well, God is saying it's precious down to its very core. It's reflecting the holiness and preciousness of it all. And gold's the right material. In fact, when you skip fast forward, when we get the actual temple built for Solomon, the inside of that holy hole is that inner room that the Ark will reside. It itself, every wall is covered with gold.
So it's really, it's a remarkably good picture. If you walked into that, you'd say, I'm in a different place. You can imagine the sense of the radiance, right?
Because gold plate or gold leaf is very reflective. In a very glowing radiant sort of way. Well, we move away from the Ark. That's one thing that'll be inside there. And then today we're going to cover two more things. They're going to be inside the tabernacle. And we'll just start into, we're in chapter 25.
If you're following with us, we read from the ESV version so it doesn't trip you up too much. And I'll start reading verse 23. We're going to look at this table that's meant for bread. So you shall make a table of acacia wood.
Two cubits shall be its length, a cubit its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, and make a molding of gold around it. And you shall make a rim around it, a handbreadth wide, and a molding of gold around the rim. And you shall make for it four rings of gold, and fasten the rings to the four corners at its four legs. And close to the frame the ring shall lie as holders for the poles to carry the table. And you shall make the poles of acacia wood, overlay them with gold, and the table shall be carried with these. And you shall make its plates and dishes for incense, and its flagons and bowls with which to pour drink offerings. And you shall make them of pure gold. And you shall set the bread of the presents on the table before me regularly.
Oh, the bread of the presents. That is a mysterious term. So it describes for us just the construction of this table. It's like three feet long. It's not very big.
No, three feet long, about a foot and a half wide, about waist high. It's a table. It's just a table that's covered with gold. And yet what's most intriguing about this table is the very last sentence.
Right. You're going to put bread on this. Bread in a tabernacle? It's not just any old bread. This bread indicates the bread of the presence of God, right?
Yes. So if you think about that in terms of the experience of the people up to this point, what had they experienced about God and bread, right? God had been giving them manna every single day from the day he began, which indicated his presence and ability to feed them.
Right. The bread that comes down out of heaven. Oh, didn't Jesus say that? The bread that comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world is my flesh. So we talked a lot about this already in relation to the manna, but here we're actually taking bread. And he'll talk more about this later. If you look in Leviticus, he'll talk about what's going to be on there. It's going to be a loaf for every tribe. Right. And we'll get that more detail unpacked.
But I would say this is an essential place to apply your study skills, people who are listening. If you've run across this bread of the presence, look in your cross references in your column in your Bible and find out where else that is talked about. And probably at the top of the list will be Leviticus 24, where we again, we have the bread, the table associated with the lampstand, because those are the two prominent pieces of furnishings in this part of the temple or the tabernacle.
And we'll get a description there of how often they replaced it and what happened to it. They replaced it every Sabbath. Every Sabbath.
So once a week. And it was given as food for the priests. For the priests, for Aaron and his sons. Nobody else could eat it.
It was just designated for them. Yeah. However, there was a very famous historical account where David, as he's running for his life, eats some. And that raised a whole ton of questions. And Jesus makes reference to that. Jesus references that, yeah. So this is not just some obscure thing.
This is a symbol. Yeah. Right?
Yeah. But it is interesting. And again, you step back and you say, why would God want as a principal part of the stuff that's inside his tabernacle, in God's tent, why would he want to set a table with 12 loaves of bread?
Why would you do that? What is that telling me? If you walked into this room and you looked around, you'll see something else inside, but you looked around and you see this gold-covered wooden table about three feet long, and it's covered with loaves of bread. You would say to yourself, are we eating today or something?
Well, that's true. If you come into somebody's house and the table is set with food. And the table is set with food. We're ready to eat.
Yeah, right. But 12 loaves. But 12 loaves. One for each of the 12 tribes.
So what does that mean? And if you think about, well, think about the second incident where Jesus fed the crowds. He broke that bread into 12 pieces and they picked up 12 baskets full, right? One for everybody. So, oh, the longer you camp on this picture, the more it unfolds for you.
Yeah. And I like to, I think the simplest interpretation is where I started, but it's gotten deeper with me over the years, to look at this and say, God has set a table for us to join him. And remember we were talking about before the covenants were always capped off with a meal.
In a sense, this is saying, God's saying to us, I'm glad you're here. I set the table for you. And who does it include? Everybody.
Every person. That's the 12 number. So it's really a fascinating thing to have inside here. I mean, it really is. And I just thought about it over the years and Jesus is the bread of life and the man from heaven. And I mean, it's a great picture.
It's a great picture. Oh, it is so much. So take your concordance and look up bread with presents. And then, you know, chase down bread.
Yeah. And look especially for the New Testament references to bread and then narrow that down. Look for the words of Jesus regarding bread. And think of bread in an ancient sense. For us, it's the most boring part of a meal. Well, and these days, bread is attached to all kinds of problems with our digestive systems. That's right.
People are highly sensitized to gluten. But anciently. But anciently.
Anciently. Bread was the essential food that everyone had to have every day. It was the necessary food. Yeah. So the necessary daily food. So that's what we're talking about.
This being filled with that. Just like what had the rule that man had with them. It was the necessary portion that kept them alive for a whole generation. Isn't it interesting even when the disciples asked Jesus to teach us to pray. He said, now pray this way. Lord, give us today our necessary daily bread.
Our necessary daily food. Yep. That's what it is. I was interested too by this phrase, this bread of the present. It's a very strange translation.
It is. And when you look in different English Bibles, they'll phrase this a little differently. Because it's a little ambiguous. It literally in Hebrew means the bread of faces. Faces. Well, when you come into the presence of God, you're facing Him. And that's why face to face with God. Face to face over the meal. It's a scary thing to be face to face with God because He is our judge.
And He's into uber justice and stuff like that. So there's always this idea about, you know, do you want to be in the face of God? Or that's actually behind the idea that no one can see Him, face Him and survive because you're in the presence of a holy God, you know, who treats sin without, well, He treats sin horribly. So, not horribly, that's the wrong word.
Severely. Well, okay, let's just lay that aside for a minute and let's just come back to the bread of the presence, the face to face-ness. The face-ness and the presence go together. To come in the presence of God, you're actually coming to face Him.
And so that's why this bread of face to face kind of makes sense when you think about it. Whether it's either fellowship or just drawing near to God and being in His presence. Being in His house. Being in His house.
Being in His house and sitting at His table and eating bread with Him. Right, right. I think that's the picture. I think that's the picture. It signals a lot of hospitality and a lot of delight on God's part to have you being at His table. I mean, that's what it's saying is you're coming into this very holy, austere place that speaks of the holiness of God. And He's saying, bread's on.
The table is set free. I think there's just a wonderfully welcoming kind of vision inside it. I mean, if I was writing the Bible, I wouldn't have invented this. But as I look at it, it warms this place so much with God saying, I'm glad you're here. It probably smelled good. It probably smelled good, too. Well, actually, we know that it smelled unique. Because you read in Leviticus about how there was an incense mingled with the bread. Wasn't it frankincense?
It's frankincense. Which we think of as stinky. But I don't know exactly how that worked. But later on, we'll discover that the formula for the incense that they used in the tabernacle was absolutely unique.
You could not use that particular formulation in anywhere else. So that there was this unique fragrance when you entered into the holy place that smelled like God. Yep.
It always identified with being in God's house. Yeah. So we move from this table that's got loaves of bread on it to a lampstand. Do you want to read that? Sure.
31? Picking up in verse 31. You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand shall be made of hammered work. Its base, its stems, its cups, its calyxes, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it. And there shall be 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. Three cups made like almond blossoms, each with a calyx and a flower, on one branch, and three cups made like almond blossoms, each with calyx and flower, on the other branch. So for the six branches going out of the lampstand, and on the lampstand itself, there shall be four cups made like almond blossoms with their calyxes and their flowers, and a calyx of one piece with it under each pair of the six branches going out from the lampstand. Their calyxes and their branches shall be of one piece with it, and the whole of it a single piece of hammered work of pure gold. You shall make seven lamps for it, and the lamps shall be set up so as to give light on the space in front of it. Its tongs and their trays shall be of pure gold, and it shall be made with all these utensils out of a talent of pure gold. And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain. A pattern. It's important. It says something specific.
Okay. So why do you need a lampstand? Well, one thing we'll find out pretty soon, that the tabernacle is tight. There's no windows. There's no windows in it. It would be pitch dark inside, and in fact, it's covered with skins. I mean, there's not even any translucence in it. So the only source of light in there comes from this lampstand.
This is it. This is the lampstand. And it was not small. It was very large. And in fact, we have a wonderful semi-contemporary picture of the actual thing, because when Titus went in in 70 AD and wiped out Jerusalem, the year after he died, they made a monument to him in Rome. Still there to this day.
Right. They looted it. The Arch of Titus is in Rome, and on the side of it, they've got a picture, an engraving of them walking this stuff out of the temple, and there, right, these guys are holding over their heads, is this lampstand. So we know what it looks like. We know what it looks like, and we know the size of it. It's roughly man-sized, a little bit less, so you could reach where to put the oil in and stuff. It was a big thing. And it was not just a lamp on top of a table. It was a man-sized lamp.
It's huge. And by the way, it had seven things on the top. If you see, if you have Jewish friends and they have a menorah around Hanukkah, that actually has nine things on the top.
This one only has seven. So that's how you can check out which one stands for Israel in the temple, which one stands for Hanukkah. But because of that picture on the Titus Arch in Rome of that lampstand, that's been looted.
The very one. Yeah. In the temple, we can look at that and say, well, that's actually a symbol for Israel. So to this very day, that picture is on almost all of Israel's currency, is that lampstand from that Titus Arch in Rome. And it's this. It's this thing right here. Talk about historical connections.
It's amazing. So the question that rises in my mind, not only is why do you need the light, because just physically you couldn't see your way around in there without it. But what does it mean that the light is coming from seven lamps at the top of what looks like a golden almond tree? A tree. What does that all mean?
A tree. Yeah. Huh.
What does that mean? Yeah. In fact, if I was going to do it, I would make it like a grapevine. I don't know if I'd make it an almond tree. And where all the blossoms of the almonds are, that's where the light's coming out. Well, you know, it's interesting that scripture, the whole story of scripture begins in a garden and there's great emphasis on the tree. The trees in the garden. And we find the tree again in Revelation when everything is put right. So it's not a mistake that this lampstand is in the shape of a flowering tree. I suspect there that there is a veiled reference there to the tree of life and the light that comes from the tree of life given by the knowledge of God, knowing God as the source of light and life. And that's important because again, if the very flawed Jim was writing this, I would put 12 up there.
Like we have on our flag, you know, we have 13 bars and we've got 50 stars and it tells you about the different parts of the country. Here I would have put one on for every tribe, but he put seven on instead of 12, which tells you very instantly, seven is so associated with God and not the tribe, that the light is coming from God, it's not coming from the tribes. It's coming from God in completion because there's seven of them. Well and it's all a unified unit, right?
We're told it's from a single source. This must have required some considerable artistry to create this amazing furnishing, this source of light. And it was heavy.
I mean, when you look at the Arch of Titus, they got a bunch of gold way because he said you use it. I looked it up. Use the whole talent. It's 75 pounds. 75 pounds.
Oh my goodness. 75 pounds of pure gold, which in today's money would be over $2 million of gold. That's a lot of gold. Did they walk away from Egypt with that much gold? They must have.
It's astonishing. Well, one guy wasn't carrying the whole 75 pounds. No, not the whole thing.
But they had asked. If you divvy it up amongst two million people. Two million people had asked for gold and silver and jewelry and precious things. Yeah. But can you believe that? They left Egypt with that much gold. Wow. Wow. I mean, it was the riches of Egypt. They just dumped it out.
So you wonder, why were they out there complaining, we've got nothing? Yeah. They actually were quite wealthy. They were quite wealthy. Yeah.
They got a great bootstrap start as a nation. But you can't eat gold. And there's no place to buy food in the desert.
So yeah, that's a problem all by itself. But he says to make sure to make it, the last verse, the pattern for them has got to be specifically what God has shown Moses on the mountain. So this lampstand, which we have so well described here, takes up a lot of verses, is telling us something really powerful about not only the source of light inside the tabernacle, but the source of light in God's house, coming from God himself.
And it's complete and it comes from a holy device, this gold, which makes it a holy sort of thing. And I've always wondered about the almond tree thing, because I always reflect back. When I was in college, I was in central California, and it was surrounded by nut farms, almonds and Romans.
Yeah. And I remember in the very early part of the year, like February, March, when the almond trees blossomed, blossoms are like these five lobed petals that are white with a little peak in the center. Yeah, they're really pretty.
They're a lot like apricot blossoms in a lot of ways, but they're white. So you would go out in parts of the central valley of California and you'd look out there and you'd see this sea of white flowers. It was just beautiful. It was stunning.
It was stunning. And so there's this fruitfulness and this bursting out of life that comes out of almonds. There's something about this picture of the almonds and the life from these flowers that's bringing this light.
Put those together in your head and ask it, what does that mean? Okay, so the flower actually, and all of creation teaches you this, the flower is the promise of the fruit that's coming. That's right.
That's coming. And the fact that this light is the picture of the flowering life-giving tree as the source of light is really a lovely one to camp on. But if we said that everything in this temple speaks of who God is and how we come to God and it all points to Jesus. Well John in the beginning of his gospel says, in him was life and the life was the light of men.
That's right. Jesus himself said, I am the light of the world. So in the symbology of this entry part of the tabernacle too that's so dark, in a sense could you say that it represents the darkness of mankind, this outer entry where you're coming in and there really is no source of light except for the light that comes from God himself.
Could it very well be that when God says, I'm going to dwell amongst you, he's saying I'm dwelling in a place that's profoundly dark and if it weren't for me there would be no light. There would be no understanding of the way things really are if it weren't for the light that I bring to this. And that's what light reveals isn't it, it's the status of things as they really are. Because if you're in the dark you really don't know what you can't see. Right, and I've said this many times in our modern culture, we miss that because we make our own light now. Right, we have light everywhere. But not when I go camping. When I go camping I understand what a problem darkness is out in the middle of the forest and stuff like that.
And you're just very thankful for a flashlight. So God's saying that this world that we're in because of the fallen nature of mankind is a very dark place. And the place where you come in to meet with God, this outer portion of the tabernacle is dominated by utter darkness if it weren't for the presence of God himself. And light draws your eye.
Exactly. If you are in the dark and you see a light glimmering in the distance, that's what you look at. That's what you look at. So we're told here in this passage, set it up so as to give light on the space in front of it.
In the space in front of us. It draws you to it in this dark room. You are drawn to the warmth of this light. And we know that candle light is very warm. When you want to set a mood, don't you light a candle?
Right, exactly. And he could have made a candle, just a single stem candle. He could have. It would have lit the place. But in doing these seven lamps, he's saying, not only am I going to light the place, I'm going to light it completely God style. I mean, light like you cannot believe, seven, not just one, seven, fully, completely. And it lights the place where actually they show pictures of putting the lampstand in there and the speculation is that it was off to the side, the left or right, as you walk into the tabernacle and move toward the Holy of Holies where the ark was. This thing lit your entire path from the entry into the tabernacle up to the entry into the Holy of Holies in the center. So in a way, what he's saying is that this complete and full, over the top, blinding light of God from these seven candles is actually lighting the way from where you come in in a dark place and come into the presence of God. It'll show you the way. Your word is a light to my path. That's what he's saying right here.
And it's interesting that in the list of tools that they make, he says make it snuffers. Well, they couldn't carry it lit. Well, once you set up the tabernacle again in your new camping place, that lamp was kept lit 24-7. We find out that that's one of the tasks of the priests was to maintain the light, to keep the light lit the whole time.
Right, bring in the oil. That's why oil is mentioned back at the beginning of chapter 25, oil for the lamps. He doesn't explain what lamps he's talking about until we get to this. You go, oh, these lamps.
You have a lot of oil if you're going to keep that thing burning all the time. Exactly, exactly. So here's this wonderful picture. Now if you walked into someone's house and the inside of the house was just miserably black and dark. You're saying nobody's home.
Nobody's home. But when you have something like this, not only just the lights that shine in the darkness, but these loaves of bread, it's actually very hospitable, but everything is gold. It's hospitable and it's holy. This is a different kind of place.
This is a different house than I've ever walked into anywhere else. And that's what God wanted to tell you, is I want you to be here, but if it weren't for my light, you would stumble around in here. And the light is always on for you.
Yeah, always on for you. The lamp is on. And this begs another question, you Bible studiers, is how does light figure in as a metaphor throughout the whole rest of the Bible? What does light mean? What does light mean and why is it that this particular candelabra of sorts is saying something about light? I mean, the simple version is that light shows us the way things really are.
Well, in the very beginning, what did God say? Let there be. Let there be light.
Light. So noodle on that as you're standing in this tabernacle and looking at this lampstand and smelling those loaves of bread and approaching near to where the ark is. So we're glad you're with us. We're going to come back and keep talking about the tabernacle. We can just stay here a little bit longer.
No. So I'm Jim. And I'm Dorothy. And we want you to come back because it's really exciting kind of stuff as we walk into the house of God. So we'll see you next time on More Than Ink. More Than Ink is a production of Main Street Church of Brigham City and is solely responsible for its content.
To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, morethanink.org. In the tabernacle. The furnishings. The stuff inside rather than the tent itself. So there you go.
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