1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
2 "Speak to the sons of Israel, that they bring Me a heave offering: of every man that gives it willingly with his heart you all shall take My heave offering.
3 And (in vv.3-7, 15 objects = 3 x 5. 3=Divine perfection, 5=Grace. All numbers connected with the Tabernacle are multiples of 5.) this is the heave offering which you all shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, (No iron in the Tabernacle. Brass, a mixture of copper and zinc was unknown then. Probably copper, or bronze, a mixture of copper and tin.)
4 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, (These colors connected with the crucifixion. Matt. 27:28. John 19:2. White mentioned last. So in Rev. 19:13,14)
5 And rams' skins dyed red, and badgers' skins, and shittim wood,
6 Oil for the light-holder (as in Gen. 1:14), spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
7 Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
8 And let them make Me a sanctuary (Heb. kodesh, see 3:5); that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I show you, after the pattern of the tabernacle (tabernacle = Heb. Mishkan, see note below), and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. (Cp. Heb. 8:5. Not a plan, but a model. The reality is in heaven. So with the Temple, later. 1 Chron. 28:11-19. With the utmost exactitude certain representative measurements given. 9 others, vital to construction, but not for significance given. #9= judgment. Probably these Divine silences were to make any unauthorized structures impossible. These 9 were I. Thickness of sides and bottom of ark; II. Thickness of mercy seat and details of cherubim; III. Thickness of table; IV. Dimensions of lampstands; V. Thickness of boards; VI. Middle bar dimensions; VII. Size &c. of rams' skins; VIII. Ditto on the badgers' skins; IX. All thicknesses of brazen altar, the 3rd dimension.)
L¹ M¹ 25:10-22. The Ark. Contents. 23-30. The Table. Contents. 31-40. The Lamp-stand. Contents. N 26:1-6. The Curtains. Construction. 7-14. The Coverings. Construction. 15-30. The Boards. Construction. 31-35. The Vail. Construction. 36,37. The Hangings for Door. Construction. M² 27:1-8. The Altar of Burnt Offering. Contents. N 9-19. Hangings for Court. Construction. M³ 20,21. Oil for the Lamp. Contents.
(Note in chapter 25 we have furniture, for the worship, within; in chapter 26 the protection outside.)
10 And they shall make an ark of acacia wood (Note the order in which these things were made, and the lesson arising therefrom. God begins from within; man from outside, Matt.15:16-20. Here the work begins with the ark and ends with the gate-25:10-26:37. So with the 4 great offerings. So with His work in the heart of the saved sinner. We begin from the "gate" and with "sin-offering". God begins with the "ark" and the "burnt-offering"): two cubits and a half (about 5') shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof (about 3'), and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
11 And you shall overlay it with pure gold, within and without shall you overlay it, and shall make upon it a crown of gold round about. (See v.24)
12 And you shall cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it (Heb. zeta' = rib, see v.32), and two rings in the other side of it.
13 And you shall make staves of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold.
14 And you shall put the staves into the rings by the ribs of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.
15 The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.
16 And you shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you. (Heb. êdûth = witness, from ûd, to bear witness, give testimony. The two tables so called because they bore witness to, and were evidences of the covenant made and of its future extension. 1 Tim.2:6, "the testimony in its own season" = "all" without distinction.)
17 And you shall make a mercy seat (= propitiatory cover, Heb. kapporeth = cover. Cover put for the propitiation made through the blood sprinkled thereon. Cp. Heb.9:5. Hence the meaning, God's "propitiatory gift" as in Papyri. Cp. Rom.3:25) of pure gold (not overlaid, because propitiation is a Divine work throughout): two cubits and a half (5') shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half (3') the breadth thereof.
18 And you shall make two cherubims (Pl. of Heb. cherub. See note below. Put for representation of the celestial beings, of which we know nothing. They are a reality, there, and representative of creation, symbolical of blessing for all creation. These were not the cherubims themselves, but representations of them. See Gen.3:24: but no "sword", because of the blood of propitiation. Occ. 7 times in vv.17-22. #7 = spiritual completeness) of gold, of beaten work shall you make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
Their description is given twice - (Ezek. 1:5-14; 10:20 and Rev. 4:6-9).
By a process of elimination we arrive at the fact that they are a celestial order of spirit beings, and we can form no more notion of them than we can of other heavenly orders which are named, but not explained, and for want of better words are called "Thrones", "Dominions", Principalities", "Powers", &c.
They are to be distinguished from the symbolic figures of them, which are made to represent them.
Negatively, we may note:
1. That they cannot be the Godhead, of Divine in their nature, for likeness of any kind was strictly forbidden (Deut. 4:15,16 &c.); and the Godhead is distinguished from them by being mentioned at the same time.
2. Though heavenly, or celestial and spiritual in their nature and character, they are distinguished from the angels (who, as their name implies, were spirits used as messengers). Compare Rev.5:8,11 and 7:11, where the first cherubim offer worship, and then the angels. They must therefore be real spirit beings, for they could hardly be represented emblematically and really in the same verse. Moreover, they are never dismissed on errands as angels are, and are never seen apart from the Throne.
3. They cannot be merely symbols, for, though symbolic and emblematic representations of them were allowed to be made, they themselves are not symbolic, or we should have symbolic symbols of symbols, and no reality at all.
4. They cannot be a symbol of the "Church" or any portion of redeemed humanity, for they are distinguished from them in Rev. 5:9,10, according to the best readings of the most ancient MMS. and critical Greek texts, where the "us" of v.9 should be omitted, and the "us" and "we" of v.10 should be "them" and "they".Compare also Rev. 7:9-11.
5. For the same reason they cannot be symbols of "the four gospels" or books of any kind, for the cherubim are ministers associated with wrath; and call for judgment plagues. See Rev. 6 and 15:7. Moreover, there is no connection between these and the presence of the cherubim in Eden, in the Tabernacle, in the Temple, and the Throne of God.
Positively, we may note:
1. That the three root letters of Kerub, k, r, b, are root letters in our GRiP, GRaB, GRiPe, GRasP. In a passive sense the notion wold be that of holding something in same keeping: and, as a matter of fact, the symbolic representation of them were held fast to the mercy-seat, being made out of the same piece of gold (Ex. 25:18,23).
2. In Gen. 3:24 they were placed to KEEP (or guard) the way to the Tree of Life, and preserve the hope of re-genesis for the ruined creation (Cp. Gen. 2:15, where we have the word "keep" in this sense).
3. Their presence on the mercy-seat binds this hope with atonement, and with Israel.
4. On the vial the hope is bound up with the coming of Christ in incarnation and redemption.
5. They are 4 in number, and 4 is the number of Creation.
6. They are represented by the symbolic heads of the four divisions of animate creation; the lion (of wild beasts), the ox (of tame beasts), the eagle (of birds), man (of humanity).
7. They are beneath the Throne, for the earth is Yahaveh's footstool.
8. Their song, when they speak, is of creation (Rev.4:11) and is in connection with the earth.
Redemption is a "new song" for them, relating to others.
9. We conclude therefore, that the cherubim are celestial or real spirit-beings, associated in some way with the embodiment of creation's hope as expressed in Rom. 8:19-23. The emblematic representation made of them connect that hope with "the hope of Israel" and associate it with the blood-sprinkled mercy-seat, and the rent vail (Heb. 10:10,20).
19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall you all make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. (= Looking toward the blood of propitiation. Cp. Ex. 12:13 and Josh. 2:18-21. See especially Ex. 37:9)
21 And you shall put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give thee.
22 And there I will meet with you (Heb. meet as by appointment, and this, in the appointed place and way: "there:, cp. 23:14-17; 29:42,43,45,46; 34:22-24; 40:34,35), and I will commune with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony (it has 7 names, the other 6 are:-
Ark of the covenant of Yahaveh, Num. 10:33.
Ark of Adonai Yahaveh, 1 Kings 2:26.
Ark of Yahaveh, Josh. 3:13.
Ark of Elohim, 1 Sam. 3:3.
The holy ark, 2 Chron. 3:3.
The ark of Your strength, Ps. 132:8),
of all things which I will give you in commandment to the sons of Israel.
23 You shall also make a table of acacia wood: two cubits (4') shall be the length thereof, and a cubit (2') the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half (3') the height thereof.
24 And you shall overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about. (Note the 3 "crowns": 1. Ark-25:11, the crown of the Law. The atoning blood between it, and the cherubim the executant. 2. Altar of incense-30:3, the crown of priesthood. Its incense fired only by the fire from the altar of burnt offering. 3. Table of show-bread-25:24, the crown of the kingdom. The 12 tribes symbolized by the 12 loaves.)
25 And you shall make unto it a border of an hand breadth (approx. 1') round about, and you shall make a golden crown to the border thereof round about.
26 And you shall make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof.
27 Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table.
28 And you shall make the staves of acacia wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.
29 And you shall make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to pour out withal: of pure gold shall you make them.
30 And you shall set upon the table show-bread (Heb. bread of faces; faces being put for presence, denoting the Divine presence in which the bread stood, and from Whom all supplies, material and spiritual, came. First occ.) before Me always. (Heb. "My face". So that here we have the Fig. Paronomasia, "panîm lephanai")
31 And you shall make a lamp-stand of pure gold: of beaten work shall the lamp-stand be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knobs, and his flowers, shall be of the same.
32 And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the lamp-stand out of the one side, and three branches of the lamp-stand out of the other side:
33 Three bowls made like unto almonds (note connection with four, v.34, making seven), with a knob and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knob and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.
34 And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knob and their flowers.
35 And there shall be a knob under two branches of the same, and a knob under two branches of the same, and a knob under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the lamp-stand.
36 Their knobs and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.
37 And you shall make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against (the face of) it.
38 And the tongs (= snuffers, [but no extinguishers]) thereof, and the snuff-dishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.
39 Of a talent of pure gold (approx. 200 lbs.) shall you make it, with all these vessels.
40 And look that you make them after their pattern (= model. See Heb. 8:5, and cp. 1 Chron. 28:11), which was showed to you in the mount.