(In a regular year, read with Parashah 22; in a leap year read separately.)
“These are the accounts of the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the testimony, recorded as Moshe ordered, by the Levites under the direction of Itamar, the son of Aaron, the priest” (Exodus 38:21).
Betzal’el was singled out by Adonai and filled with wisdom, understanding, and knowledge concerning every kind of artistry. Betzal’el descended from the Tribe of Judah, the lineage of the Kings of Isra’el: David, Solomon, Abijah, Joash, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Zedekiah, Josiah, and King Yeshua.
His assistant is Oholi’av who was a skilled engraver, designer, and a weaver of colors. Oholi’av is from the Tribe of Dan which means ‘judge.’ Samson, one of the Judges of Isra’el descended from the Tribe of Dan.
The Materials for the Tabernacle
“I heard a loud voice from the throne say, ‘See! God’s Sh’khinah is with mankind, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and he himself, God-with-them, will be their God’”
Gold, symbolic of the Kingdom of Elohim, was used for everything made in the sanctuary. The total weight of gold used was 29 talents, 730 shekels or 1,930 pounds. Today’s (2017) market value is $1275.80 per troy ounce which equals $15,309.60 per troy pound. At 1,930 pounds, the price of gold used at today’s market value is $29,547,528.00.
“They hammered the gold into thin plates and cut them into threads (wires) in order to work it into the blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen crafted by the skilled artisan” (Exodus 39:3).
Gold is a soft metal, and while possible to make a very thin gold wire that can be woven like thread, it is rather fragile and breaks easily when repeatedly bent back and forth. In embroidery, gold thread was laid on the surface of the cloth and held down with stitches, rather than being threaded into a needle and passed in and out through the fabric. This method is called ‘couching.’ Most gold thread was made by beating gold very thin, cutting it into strips, and wrapping the strip in a spiral around a ‘core’ thread. The ‘core’ made the thread more flexible. The actual gold coating on the thread was quite thin and the thread would bend more easily, and you could with care, actually pass the thread.
Hebrew Word Picture
Gold or zahav – זהב – zayin, hey, bet
– division revealed in the house
“The words of Adonai are pure words, silver in a melting-pot set in the earth, refined and purified seven times over” (Psalm 12:7).
The silver, symbolic of being refined by fire, given by the community weighed 100 talents, 1,775 shekels or 6,650 pounds. Today’s (2017) market value of silver is $16.13 per ounce which equals $258.08 per pound. At 6,650 pounds of silver, the price of silver used at today’s market value is $1,564,238.00. Silver was used to cast the 100 sockets for the sanctuary and curtain. Each socket used 66 pounds of silver which would cost $15,524.00 each with today’s market value.
The amount of silver given by each individual was called a beka. A beka is a half shekel or 1/5 an ounce of silver. This would be about $3.35 in today’s market value for a half shekel. A beka was paid by every man 20 years old or older who were counted in the census which was 603,550 Israelite men and came to $2,021,892.50.
Hebrew Word Pictures
Silver or kesaph – כסף – kaf, samech, peh
– cover and support the words
“He trains my hands for war until my arms can bend a bow of bronze; ‘You give me your shield, which is salvation, your right hand holds me up, your humility makes me great’” (Psalm 18:35-36).
The offering of bronze, symbolizing the judgment of Adonai, weighed 4,680 pounds. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin while brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. The price of bronze is under $1.00 per pound in today’s market value. Bronze was used for the sockets to the entrance to the Tabernacle, the Altar of Sacrifice, the grate in the Altar, all of the utensils for the Altar, sockets for the Courtyard and Gateway, and all of the tent pegs for holding the Tabernacle in place.
Hebrew Word Pictures
Bronze or nechash – נחש – nun, chet, shin
– life protects chaos
“Meanwhile, Mordecai left the king’s presence arrayed in royal blue and white” (Esther 8:15).
The Hebrew word for ‘blue’ is techelet and covers the spectrum of blue from sky blue to a deep royal blue. Though it has come to mean ‘light blue,’ techelet was actually the name of the blue dye extracted the chillazon sea snail. When the 70 elders went up the mountain with Moshe, the pavement under Adonai’s feet was sapphire, clear as techelet.
Blue is associated with the heavenly realm and was the theme color of the Tabernacle because it was created to be a ‘shadow’ of the heavenly one. Blue is also associated with the commandments of Adonai. The high priest’s ephod was woven entirely of blue representing his close association with Torah.
When the Israelite camp moved from one place to another in the wilderness, specific instructions were given for moving the objects in the Tabernacle. The Ark of the Covenant was covered with the Holy Curtain and a blue cloth over top. Blue cloth covered the Table of Presence and all of its utensils, the Menorah, and the Altar of Incense.
Hebrew Word Pictures
Blue or techelet – תכלת – tav, kaf, lamed, tav
– sign opens and urges forward the covenant
“And they clothed him [Yeshua] with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him” (Mark 15:17,20).
The Hebrew word for ‘purple‘ is argaman and symbolizes royalty. The curtain in the Tabernacle that separated man from the presence of Adonai was made of purple, blue, and scarlet yarns.
Hebrew Word Pictures
Purple or argaman – ארגמן – alef, resh, gimel, mem, nun
– first strength of highest authority raises up the mighty life
“Come now, and let us reason together,” says Adonai, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
According to the prophet Isaiah, scarlet is the color of sin. The Hebrew word for ‘scarlet’ is towla and means ‘maggot’ or ‘worms.’ Worms known as the crimson grub were used to extract the crimson color. Crimson or scarlet yarns were woven into the fabrics for the Tabernacle along with blue and purple.
Maggots or worms appeared on the manna when the Israelites disobeyed Adonai and kept it overnight. Weaving scarlet into the tapestries was a reminder to Isra’el to not sin, especially when it came to the Shabbat. If the crimson grub were the worms that appeared on the manna, the Israelites apparently had enough of them to make the scarlet yarn!
Hebrew Word Pictures
Scarlet or towla – תולע – tav, vav, lamed, ayin
– the covenant bound to the shepherd, understand
“Let us rejoice and be glad! Let us give him the glory! For the time has come for the wedding of the Lamb, and his Bride has prepared herself — fine linen, bright and clean has been given her to wear. (‘Fine linen’ means the righteous deeds of God’s people.)” (Revelation 19:7-8)
The Hebrew word for ‘fine linen’ is sheshee and means ‘white’ or ‘bleached.’ Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant which was cultivated in Egypt and known for its pure white color (Exodus 9:31). The process to create linen is tedious, but when woven into garments, it is cool and remains fresh in hot weather. In ancient times, linen was mainly used by the wealthy and the priesthood. The tunic, the turban, and shorts for the high priest were made of finely woven linen. Even the wicks for the Menorah were made of fine linen.
Hebrew Word Pictures
Fine Linen or sheshee – שש – shin, shin
– consume, consume
Linen or bad – בד – bet, dalet
– the family pathway
“The name of the first [river] is Pishon; it winds throughout the land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there” (Genesis 2:11-12).
The Hebrew word for ‘onyx’ or ‘sardonyx’ is shoham and has its root in the Arabic word for ‘blackness.’ Onyx is a type of chalcedony, a member of the crystals family. It symbolizes inner strength, discipline, and reason. Two onyx stones were put in settings of gold and placed on the high priest’s shoulders –– one on the right and one on the left. The stones were engraved with the names of the sons of Isra’el –– six names on one side and six on the other. The stones were considered to be ‘remembrance’ stones. When Aaron entered the Holy Place dressed in his priestly garments, Adonai would see the names of the Tribes of Isra’el written on the stones and would be moved to have mercy on His people.
Hebrew Word Pictures
Onyx or shoham – שוהם – shin, vav, hey, mem
– consume the mighty binding revealed
They Did It!
“Then they brought the tabernacle to Moses. The people of Isra’el did all the work just as Adonai had ordered Moshe. Moshe saw all the work, and — there it was! — They had done it! Exactly as Adonai had ordered, they had done it. And Moshe blessed them” (Exodus 39:33-43).
For months the Israelites worked with skill to create the Mishkan according to the plan Moshe had been given on the mountain. Wooden boxes of Acacia wood had been covered in gold for the Altars and the Table. Mirrors had been transformed into a Bronze Laver. Tapestries had been woven together in blue, scarlet, and purple yarns embroidered with the images of k’ruvim. Fine linen had been twisted from flax, spun, and sewn together for tent coverings, clothing, and wicks. Animal skins had been tanned into leather. Gold had been beaten into a Menorah, and fine slivers of golden thread glistened between the colorful yarns. Silver sockets had been polished. Bronze tent pegs waited to be hammered into the ground. Anointing oil, lamp oil, and aromatic spices were ready for use. Priestly garments had been sewn with blue cloth, precious stones, fine linen, and gold chains. The Israelites gathered everything they had made and brought it to Moshe.
The Mishkan Rises
On the first day of the first month of the second year after the Israelites had left Egypt, the Mishkan was set up. One year after they were given Adonai’s ‘appointed times,’ the nation of Isra’el raised up Adonai’s place of residence where He could live with His treasured people. Moshe did everything exactly as commanded because ‘the appointed time’ of Pesach was arriving in 14 days.
The gold posts, silver sockets, and gold ceiling rafters were set, the four coverings were hung on rings, and the stakes holding the Tabernacle were pounded into the ground. The Ark of the Covenant was put in the Holy of Holies and concealed behind the colorful Holy Curtain woven with k’ruvim. In the Holy Place, the Table of Presence was set up and on it Moshe arranged the loaves of the Bread of Presence. Wicks and oil were put in the cups of the Menorah across from the Table of Presence and the lamps were lit. The Altar of Incense was placed in front of the Holy Curtain and the smell of burning incense would soon fill the Holy Place. The entrance screen to the Most Holy Place was hung on its five golden posts.
The fine linen curtains that surrounded the entire Tabernacle were hung along with the screen, the gate to the Tabernacle. In the Courtyard, the Altar of Sacrifice was set up near the entrance. Between the Altar and the entrance screen to the Most Holy Place, the Bronze Laver was filled with water. Finally, everything was anointed with the holy oil.
Aaron was brought to the entrance of the Tabernacle and washed with water. He put on the high priest’s garments and the turban with the golden ornament engraved with ‘Kadosh l’Adonai.’ He was anointed with oil and consecrated to serve as cohen gadol. His sons were also washed and put on their priestly garments. They were anointed like their father to serve as cohanim throughout their generations (Exodus 40).
Adonai Makes His Decision
This is the culmination of the book of Exodus describing the Israelites’ journey from slavery to freedom. They plundered Egypt and entered the wilderness. They crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, ate manna that appeared like dew, drank water that gushed from the ‘Rock,’ saw Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh in lightning and thunder on a mountain, heard His voice and received His divine instructions.
They sinned against their Provider and ate quail until they were sick. They sinned against their Deliverer and had to drink contaminated water. They watched many of their loved ones die at the hands of the Levites. Though they repented and mourned, they did not know what Adonai’s decision would be.
Had Moshe’s intercession been enough? Would Adonai forgive them? Or would He continue to keep His distance? Would He be merciful and compassionate to them? Would they worship the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as they had been promised in Egypt or had they lost that privilege? Would the Shekinah of the One who redeemed them, guided them, protected them, fought for them, and spoke with them, appear and live among them in the Tabernacle they built with their skilled hands and willing hearts? Did Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh still consider Isra’el His treasured possession?
“Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle. Moshe was unable to enter the Tent of Meeting, because the cloud remained on it, and the glory of Adonai filled the Tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from over the Tabernacle, the people of Isra’el continued with all their travels. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not travel onward until the day when it was taken up. For the cloud of Adonai was above the Tabernacle during the day, and fire was [in the cloud] at night, so that all the house of Isra’el could see it throughout all their travels” (Exodus 40:34-38).
Adonai made His decision. He chose to live with His people, His treasured possession, His holy nation. More importantly, He decided to remain with them until they reached the Promised Land revealing the character of Adonai who is willing to remain close and near to His people despite their faithlessness. Exodus concludes with the ultimate expression of Adonai’s grace and mercy, compassion and lovingkindness.
Yeshua in the Tabernacle Colors
Yeshua is the Tabernacle of Adonai. He is the golden thread woven throughout the tapestries giving promise to his coming Kingdom. Like silver that is refined in a furnace, Yeshua was tested and afflicted and overcame death, his Altar of Sacrifice. With the engraved onyx stones, he will remember the Tribes of Isra’el and return to earth with power and strength judging the nations who have come against the chosen people of his Father. He will remove the maggots of Isra’el’s scarlet sins and sprinkle clean water on them from the heavenly Bronze Laver. They will be cleansed from their impurities and reflect the image and glory of Messiah. His armies, redeemed from among the nations of the earth, will follow him wearing fine linen, white and pure. They are not only sanctified warriors, but also his Bride, who are rewarded for their righteous works in the Most Holy Place. Dressed in the finest royal purple robe, Yeshua will sit on his Throne in Jerusalem and judge the nations. During the Messianic Era, the glory of Adonai will return to Isra’el and Yeshua will be known in Yerushalayim as High Priest and King of Kings.
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