Archive for ‘Exodus’

October 19, 2015

Bezalel and Oholiab (Exodus 35:20-38:8)

Chuck CainOn September 27, 2015, the adult Sunday school class studied Exodus 35:20 through 38:8.

This section describes the eagerness of the Israelites to contribute the materials and the work needed to construct the tabernacle. Both men and women “who were of a willing heart,” “whose hearts stirred them,” and “whose heart moved them” brought a freewill offering. The people’s contributions were so great they were asked to cease bringing material! The Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Co 9:7).

Also the Lord filled Bezalel and Oholiab with the Spirit of God giving them skill, intelligence, and knowledge as craftsmen and with the ability to teach others. In many respects this section anticipates the spiritual gifts given to church members.

Chapter 36 describes Bezalel’s crafting the curtains, frames, pillars, and bases for the tabernacle structure. This section largely duplicates the designs for these items previously given to Moses in Chapter 26.

The remainder of this section describes Bezalel’s crafting the seven items of furniture for the tabernacle: the ark, the mercy seat, the table, the lampstand, the incense altar, the altar of burnt offering, and the basin. Again, this section duplicates the descriptions provided for these items in Chapters 25, 27, and 30.–Chuck Cain

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September 22, 2015

Shining Face of Moses, Sabbath Regulations, Contributions for the Tabernacle (Exodus 34:29-35:19)

Chuck CainOn September 20, 2015, the adult Sunday School class studied Exodus 34:29 through 35:19.

The last verses of Exodus 34 record the seventh and final descent of Moses from Mount Sinai. He brings with him the tablets of the testimony. His face shines as a result of his time with God and the lingering effect of his having been shown God’s glory (33:18). This appearance serves to authenticate Moses as mediator and leader, God’s presence and guidance, and the Law. Based on 2 Corinthians 3:7 through 4:6, in the face of Moses we see the glory of any person who meets with God by faith through his word. That is, being with God has a transforming effect on people. Also in this passage we see the glory of the gospel as the old covenant fades away.

In chapter 35 we see Moses resuming his discussion of the sabbath after he was rudely interrupted after 31:18 upon his finding Israel engaged in idolatry. Moses then proceeds to announce God’s commands regarding the tabernacle. He solicits contributions and craftsmanship from the Israelites. He orders the manufacture of the the tabernacle, particularly listing the seven articles of furniture (35:12-16). Note that this is the third such listing. The first was in chapters 25-30, and the second occurs in 31:7-9. There will be seven such listings before Exodus is concluded.

Note that Aaron has apparently been forgiven his sins and his lame excuses recorded in chapter 32, for according to 35:19 he is to be consecrated as high priest. This plus God’s renewed promise to dwell with his people shows that there is always hope for sinners.–Chuck Cain

Listen to “Shining Face of Moses, Sabbath Regulations, Contributions for the Tabernacle (Exodus 34:29-35:19)” at

September 17, 2015

Covenant Renewal (Exodus 34:1-28)

Chuck CainOn September 13, 2015, the adult Sunday School class studied Exodus 34:1-28.

Verses 6-7 are often quoted throughout the Old Testament. Listed are seven attributes by which God expresses himself. These would have been particularly welcomed by Moses and Israel in light of the nation’s recent idolatry. God is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving, yet just. These verses also identify the occasion that God “passed before Moses and proclaimed his name” as stated in 33:19.

God’s renewal of the covenant is expressed in verses 10-28, with particular emphasis on commandments that would prevent further idolatry. In verses 10-16 he warns Israel of making covenants with neighboring peoples as they enter the promised land and falling sway to their religions, especially through intermarriage. Verses 17-26 list another set of 10 commandments with a further emphasis on warnings regarding idolatry. In particular they emphasize worship through God’s prescribed festivals rather than pagan festivals.

In verse 27 Moses is commanded to record these words, which may have also included God’s commandments regarding the tabernacle in chapters 25-31. In verse 28 it is God who wrote the 10 Commandments on the stone tablets as promised in verse 1.–Chuck Cain

Listen to “Covenant Renewal (Exodus 34:1-28)” at!

September 8, 2015

Golden Calf, Concluded (Exodus 32:1-29)

Chuck CainOn August 23, 2015, the adult Sunday school class studied Exodus 32:1-29.

The first six verses describe the idolatry of the Israelites as they construct the golden calf. It had not been long ago that they heard God speak the Ten Commandments to them. But now they blatantly violate the first three of those.

The LORD distances himself from Israel by telling Moses, “Go down, for YOUR people, whom YOU brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves.” In verse 10 God threatens to consume them and to make a new nation from the descendants of Moses. Moses intercedes for his people with five arguments: 

– Moses implores God citing your people;
– Moses states that it was the LORD that brought the people out of Egypt with power;
– Moses states that for the sake of his own reputation among the nations, God should preserve   his people;
– Moses asks God for mercy in relenting of this planned disaster;
– Moses asks God to remember the covenant he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.

Verse 14 states that God relented of the planned disaster. We must think of this as an anthropomorphism. That is, this section describes God’s thoughts and actions as if he were a man.

This section displays Moses as the grand intercessor and mediator for his people. In this role he typifies the ultimate intercessor/mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ.

In verse 25 Moses descends from the mountain and upon seeing the idolatry in the camp he breaks the tables of the testimony realizing that his people are unable to keep these commandments.

Moses confronts Aaron with his part in the idolatry, but Aaron blames Moses, the people, and last of all the fire for producing the idol. Moses then commands the Levites to slay the people with the sword. 3,000 fall that day.–Chuck Cain

Listen to “Golden Calf, concluded” (Exodus 32:1-29) at

September 7, 2015

Sabbath Commands and the Golden Calf (Exodus 31:12-32:6)

Chuck CainOn August 16, 2015, the adult Sunday School class reviewed Exodus 31:12 through 32:6.

In the last section of Exodus 31 the LORD gives Moses further commands regarding the Sabbath. The LORD had provided commandments regarding the Sabbath before in chapters 16, 20, and 23, but three additional issues are provided at this point. The first is that “above all” the Sabbath is to be kept during the construction of the tabernacle. The verses immediately preceding identified the artisans responsible for the construction, so here the LORD commands that there will be rest on the Sabbath. Second, these verses reveal that the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant and that its observance would result in increased knowledge of the LORD. Finally, for the first time a penalty is identified for failure to observe the Sabbath. That penalty was death.

We too are to rest on the Sabbath and engage in corporate worship and learn more on that occasion about the LORD through Bible study and worship. Fortunately the penalty of the civil law has been suspended (else our population would be greatly reduced). But the penalty highlights how serious the LORD considers faithful Sabbath observance even in our day.

For the New Testament church, the Sabbath is observed on Sunday recognizing that something equally important to creation rest has occurred: the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first day of the week.

Also reviewed were the opening verses of Chapter 32 which detail the Israelites’ impatience with the long time Moses was spending on the mountain and their resorting to the making of a golden calf. This and the consequences of their sin will be reviewed next week.–Chuck Cain

Listen to Sabbath Commands and the Golden Calf (Exodus 31:12-32:6) at

August 11, 2015

Furnishings Concluded; Oil and Incense; Artisans (Exodus 30:17-31:11)

Chuck CainOn Sunday, August 9, 2015, the Adult Sunday School Class reviewed Exodus 30:17 through 31:11.

Exodus 30:17-21 describes the last of the seven items of furniture in the tabernacle. The bronze basin was used for the washing of the hands and the feet of the priests. For us it speaks of the need for daily cleansing through confession and the washing afforded us through the word.

Exodus 30:22-38 provides the formulas for preparing the anointing oil and the incense.

In Exodus 31:1-11 God identifies the two principal artisans who are to craft the tabernacle, its furnishings, the priests’ garments, and other items.—Chuck Cain

Listen to “Furnishings Concluded; Oil and Incense; Artisans” (Exodus 30:17-31:11) at

August 4, 2015

The Incense Altar and the Census Tax (Exodus 30)

Chuck Cain On July 26, 2015 the Adult Sunday School Class reviewed the incense altar and the census tax in Exodus 30.

The first is a description of the incense altar. One would wonder why it is described here rather than in Chapter 25, where the other four furniture items inside the tabernacle are described (the ark of the covenant, the mercy seat, the bread table, and the lamp). This description forms an inclusio with 27:20-21 which speaks of the priests’ daily tending to the lamps; whereas, 30:7-8 speaks of the priests’ daily tending to burning incense. In the midst of this inclusio in Chapters 28-29 is the description of the priests’ garments and consecration. This is to say that a description of the priests’ daily duties serve as bookends surrounding their ordination.

The burning of incense likely symbolizes prayer, both of the people’s prayer to God and our Lord’s intercession for his people. The linkage of incense and prayer is found in other passages such as Psalm 141:1-2, Luke 1:5-11, and Revelation 5:8 and 8:3-4.

Note that the design, as well as the name, of this article of furniture is almost identical to that of the bronze altar in the courtyard. They are both square and have horns. Perhaps this is to remind us that a life of prayer depends on a sacrifice for sin.

The second subject discussed in Chapter 30 is the census tax. In Exodus 30:11-16 the LORD tells Moses that when a census is taken each person is to pay a half-shekel tax to “ransom his life” (verse 12) and “to make atonement for your lives” (verses 15 and 16) “that there be no plague among them when you number them.” These frightening statements are likely a reminder that the people are not their own, they belong to God who has redeemed them. The taking of a census could tempt pride in numbers and achievement. The tax would remind them that they were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and 7:23).

In 2 Samuel 24 David confesses that he has sinned after taking a census of the people. Likely the sin was the failure to require each person to pay the census tax. Also see Matthew 17:24-27 where it is recorded that Christ paid the half-shekel tax both for himself and Peter. — Chuck Cain

Listen to “The Incense Altar and the Census Tax” (Exodus 30) at

July 21, 2015

Consecration of the Priests and the Altar (Exodus 29)

Chuck CainOn Sunday, July 19, 2015, the Adult Sunday School Lesson completed a review of Exodus 29 regarding consecration of the priests and the altar.

Three animal sacrifices are identified as part of the ceremony. In each case the blood of the animal is applied in various ways to the altar.

The first sacrifice is a bull for the sin offering. Curtain organs are burned on the altar. The remainder is burned outside the camp. Hebrews 13:11-12 identifies this practice as a foreshadowing of Jesus being crucified outside the city as a sacrifice for our sin.

The second sacrifice is a ram for the burnt offering. This offering represented full commitment of the priests and the people.

The third sacrifice is a ram for the fellowship offering. This offering is also identified elsewhere as a peace offering or wave offering. In this case after specified organs are burned on the altar, the breast and thigh are eaten by the priests symbolizing a fellowship meal between them (and the people) and God.

The order of these three offerings differs in Leviticus as identified by J. A. Motyer. In Exodus 29 the order highlights individual need for being forgiven. In Leviticus 1-5 the order is burnt offering (1:3), fellowship offering (3:1), and sin offering (4:2-3) highlighting the order of divine desire. In Leviticus 6-7 the order is burnt offering (6:9), sin offering (6:25), and fellowship offering (7:11) highlighting the order of priestly ministry.

Exodus 29 states that the consecration ceremony for the priests was to last seven days.
The chapter closes with the highly important and oft repeated statement, “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.”

Listen to “Consecration of the Priests and the Altar” (Exodus 29) at

July 14, 2015

Priest’s Garments (conclusion), Consecration of Priests (Exodus 28-29)

Chuck CainOn July 12, 2015 the Adult Sunday School Class finished a review of the high priest’s garments described in Exodus 28 and initiated a review of chapter 29 regarding consecration of the priests.

The remaining garments discussed in chapter 28 included the blue robe (underlying the ephod and the breastplate) with a hem ornamented with pomegranates sewn with yarn alternating with bells of gold. The bells apparently signified the need for a careful, reverential approach to worship. Then described is the turban with its golden plate engraved with “Holy to the LORD.” The plate was to be positioned on Aaron’s forehead reminding us of the need to meditate upon God’s word. Finally, the underlying coat (tunic) and undergarments are described. Also described are the garments worn by Aaron’s priestly sons.

Chapter 29 describes the consecration of the priests. (Leviticus 8 is almost an identical chapter.) The word “consecrate” literally means “fill the hand.” That is, the priests were to have their “hands full” in full commitment to their service. Then three ceremonial acts are described. First, the priests are to be washed with water. Second, they are to be dressed in their priestly garments. Third, they are to be anointed with oil. These acts remind us that now we as new covenant priests (1 Peter 2:9) have been baptized (washed in the waters of regeneration), robed in righteousness (declared righteous), and anointed with the indwelling Holy Spirit.

A final part of the consecration ceremony involved three animal sacrifices on the bronze altar: a sin offering, a burnt offering, and a fellowship (or wave) offering. These will be studied further in the next lesson.

Listen to “Priest’s Garments (conclusion), Consecration of Priests” (Exodus 28-29) at

July 6, 2015

The Courtyard, Bronze Altar, Priest’s Garments (Exodus 27-28)

Chuck CainOn July 5, 2015 the Adult Sunday School Class reviewed Exodus chapters 27 and 28.

Having completed chapters 25 and 26 which describe the tabernacle structure and its contents, we step outside “heaven” into the tabernacle courtyard depicting “earth.” Here we first encounter the bronze altar on which animal sacrifices will be offered for sins. The design of this altar is described in Exodus 27:1-8. The remainder of this chapter describes the courtyard fencing which is to be 150′ by 75′. Also described is the beautiful gate to the courtyard.

Thus the tabernacle compound has four zones pointing to the holiness of God:

1. The Holy of Holies where God’s glory was to reside above the cherubim of the mercy seat. Only the designated high priest could enter there, and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement with blood.
2. The Holy Place where only the designated priests could enter to service daily the incense altar, the bread table, and the lamp.
3. The courtyard where Israelites could enter to bring their sacrifices to be offered up by the priests.
4. Outside the courtyard would reside the rest of the world, the Gentiles, the uncircumcised, the unbelievers.

In chapter 28 the priests’ garments are described. The high priest is to wear a breastplate, an ephod, a robe, a tunic, a turban, and a sash. Later, underwear will also be described. A detailed description of each garment is provided to Moses. These holy garments are for glory and beauty and point to our High Priest, Jesus Christ.–Chuck Cain

Listen to “The Courtyard, Bronze Altar, Priest’s Garments“ (Exodus 27-28) at