Two things signal this emphasis. Second, seven times in verses we are told that Moses did exactly as God commanded him vss. In these five verses we come to the end of the Book of Exodus. There are several features of this paragraph of which we should take note:. The best has truly been saved till last here.
While this paragraph serves as the climax and conclusion to the Book of Exodus, we should realize that it is a very brief account. There is no effort to embellish the account, in fact the matter is almost understated. If any author wished to wax eloquent, this event would have provided the material to do so.
It is my conviction that the glory of this event is to be viewed as but a signal to the glory of the tabernacle, and ultimately the glory associated with the sacrificial system which it facilitated. Thus, the Book of Leviticus plays out this glory in much fuller detail. So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite Exod.
And I will meet there [at the altar] with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory. And I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; and I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me.
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And I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. The cloud, in it various appearances, is identified with the presence and the glory of God cf. The glory of God in the tabernacle was so awesome that even Moses could not enter the tabernacle. He had seen the glory of God in the burning bush Exod. He alone had seen the glory of God from inside the cloud atop Mt. Sinai Exod. But the glory of God in the tabernacle was greater than that which Moses or any other Israelite for that matter could behold. Thus, the glory of God which now abides in the presence of the Israelites is the greatest glory known to man to this point in time.
In verse 34 it is called the cloud, indicating that it is the same cloud mentioned previously. Then they set off from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness. And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.
He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people Exod. In chapter 14, the cloud went from before Israel to behind them, to separate them from the Egyptians v. From the midst of the cloud God brought confusion to the Egyptians v. In chapter 16 vss.
In chapter 19, the cloud was manifested atop Mt. Sinai vss. Since the cloud was present with the Israelites from the time they left Egypt, and never departed from them, there is a sense in which nothing new occurs here in chapter It is, so to speak, the same cloud as before. What was once distant either before or behind the nation, or far away, atop Mt.
Sinai is now in the very midst of the camp. The second fact is even more significant. Finally, the glory of God settled on the tabernacle to abide there, not just as a momentary manifestation of God. Verses 34 and 35 describe the phenomenon of the descent of the cloud, while verses describe the function of the cloud.
By this cloud God led the Israelites, informing them as to when they should make or break camp, as well as leading them in the proper route. While the guiding function of the cloud is not a new one, it is an assurance to the Israelites that they will get to the promised land of Canaan, for God Himself was going before them. What, then, is the significance of this event for the Israelites and for us? I believe that the lesson which God had for the Israelites of old is similar to that for the people of God in our own day.
Consider the following lessons which can be learned from the events of this concluding chapter of Exodus. First, this chapter reminds us of the importance of exacting obedience for the people of God. God manifested His presence in the place which He prescribed, and among those people who precisely carried out His commands pertaining to the tabernacle.
The exacting obedience of Moses in this chapter and the people in the preceding chapter are underscored in our text. The kind of exacting obedience which God required of the Israelites was not legalism.
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Let me mention just one example of this kind of sloppiness, taught in the name of grace. The commands which God had given Israel through Moses pertaining to the tabernacle are paralleled today by those which God has given to the church through the apostles. When we set aside the practices and principles which Paul has laid down we reject the divinely appointed apostolic foundation for the church.
Let us not forget those sobering words of Paul which follow:. Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are 1 Cor. This did not minimize their sin, but focused their attention on the primary function of the tabernacle, which was to provide a place and a means of atonement, where sin could be set aside temporarily, cf.
God has provided us with the same kind of assurance as that which the cloud provided for Israel. Through His Spirit, God indwells the believer, giving assurance of the forgiveness of sins, of the presence of God, and of continual access to Him, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
However you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you Rom.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. The Holy Spirit ministers to the saints today as the cloud once ministered to Israel.
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The Spirit of God abides within the saint as the cloud used to abide within the tabernacle. If we have been truly born again by personal faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us and assures us that we are the children of God.
The Spirit also gives us guidance, as the cloud guided the Israelites. Some, I fear, would rather have the cloud than the Spirit. In one sense the descent of the Spirit of God on the church was not unlike that of the cloud on the tabernacle. Both were initially spectacular events, accompanied by visible glory.
- The Intermediary Level.
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- Spirit Speaks: For all those who have come before and those who will come later through the?
- Tabernacle Atlanta.
I would contend, however, that the ministry of the Spirit is both different and superior to that of the Old Testament cloud. That which makes the cloud appealing—its visible splendor and miraculous nature—is precisely that which makes it inferior to the work of the Holy Spirit. It was with the spectacular cloud not to mention the miraculously provided manna in sight that the Israelites grumbled against God, resisted and rejected Moses, and fashioned their golden calf. It was in sight of the cloud that the Israelites refused to possess the land of Canaan, fearing the giants who lived there.
In the days of our Lord, as recorded in the gospels, the miracles which He performed did not have a lasting effect on either his unbelieving enemies, nor upon the disciples. The new covenant was the promise that God would turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh cf.
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This is the ministry of the Holy Spirit Jer. Thus, the ministry of the Spirit is vastly superior to that of the cloud. Furthermore, the presence of God achieved by Christ and mediated by the Holy Spirit is far more intimate than that which Israel experienced. What were the difficulties and how long did these operations take place?
The sequence of the assembling operations is well described in Exodus 40, So Moses finished the work. These operations were performed by men of the Levite families of Gershom, Keat and Merari, under the control of Itamar, son of Aaron. Presumably two dozens of men were able to assemble and complete the entire Tabernacle in a morning.
The dismantling operation was effected in the opposite way; this also required only a few hours' work. Once the Tabernacle was dismantled, it all had to be packed up and transported. The transport was effected partly on men's backs and partly in covered wagons, each drawn by a pair of oxen Num.
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