Exodus 36


‘So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.” Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work. They received from Moses all the offerings the Israelites had brought to carry out the work of constructing the sanctuary. And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.” Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.’ Exodus 36:1-7

In this chapter, we read about giving in such a way, we don’t often hear about today, and that is, we have enough. All the materials for the building of the tabernacle were committed to Bezaleel and Aholiab. For more on Bezaleel and Aholiab see notes from Exodus 31:1-11 / Exodus 35:30-35.

Notice that the people brought more than enough material to build the tabernacle, and so, Moses commands them to stop giving. I wonder what would happen when leaders of a congregation decided, we have more than enough, we don’t need to take up an offering this week!

The very fact that people were so willing and generous is seen in the fact that Moses stopped them from giving any more, 2 Corinthians 9:7. Notice that their giving didn’t depend on their assembly together to act as one, they came individually because of their commitment to accomplish the will of God.

The Tabernacle

‘All those who were skilled among the workers made the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim woven into them by expert hands. All the curtains were the same size—twenty-eight cubits long and four cubits wide. They joined five of the curtains together and did the same with the other five. Then they made loops of blue material along the edge of the end curtain in one set, and the same was done with the end curtain in the other set. They also made fifty loops on one curtain and fifty loops on the end curtain of the other set, with the loops opposite each other. Then they made fifty gold clasps and used them to fasten the two sets of curtains together so that the tabernacle was a unit. They made curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle—eleven altogether. All eleven curtains were the same size—thirty cubits long and four cubits wide. They joined five of the curtains into one set and the other six into another set. Then they made fifty loops along the edge of the end curtain in one set and also along the edge of the end curtain in the other set. They made fifty bronze clasps to fasten the tent together as a unit. Then they made for the tent a covering of ram skins dyed red, and over that a covering of the other durable leather. They made upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle. Each frame was ten cubits long and a cubit and a half wide, with two projections set parallel to each other. They made all the frames of the tabernacle in this way. They made twenty frames for the south side of the tabernacle and made forty silver bases to go under them—two bases for each frame, one under each projection. For the other side, the north side of the tabernacle, they made twenty frames and forty silver bases—two under each frame. They made six frames for the far end, that is, the west end of the tabernacle, and two frames were made for the corners of the tabernacle at the far end. At these two corners the frames were double from the bottom all the way to the top and fitted into a single ring; both were made alike. So there were eight frames and sixteen silver bases—two under each frame. They also made crossbars of acacia wood: five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle, five for those on the other side, and five for the frames on the west, at the far end of the tabernacle. They made the centre crossbar so that it extended from end to end at the middle of the frames. They overlaid the frames with gold and made gold rings to hold the crossbars. They also overlaid the crossbars with gold. They made the curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim woven into it by a skilled worker. They made four posts of acacia wood for it and overlaid them with gold. They made gold hooks for them and cast their four silver bases. For the entrance to the tent they made a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer; and they made five posts with hooks for them. They overlaid the tops of the posts and their bands with gold and made their five bases of bronze.’ Exodus 36:8-38

The Tabernacle was a structure built by the children of Israel under the supervision of Moses, around 1450 B.C. The first five books of the Bible were written down by Moses, they are called the Torah, the Hebrew word for ‘law’. Jesus said, ‘He had come not to abolish the law, but to fulfil it,’ Matthew 5:17.

John, one of Jesus’ disciples, tells us that “the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” John 1:17. The word ‘truth’ here is alethia in Greek, meaning ‘reality’. The ‘truth’ John speaks of is ‘Jesus Christ as the Word, who was God and who became flesh and tabernacled among us,’ John 1:1 / John 1:14.

The Greek word sometimes translated as ‘dwelt’ here is more literally translated as ‘tabernacled’. Therefore, the Tabernacle is a picture, a foreshadow of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Book of Exodus, when God dictates to Moses the detailed design of the Tabernacle, some 1450 years before the birth of Jesus, He speaks forth a description of just who and what the coming Messiah, the Christ, would be.

In the four gospels, particularly in John’s account, Jesus shows Himself to be the reality of every item in the Tabernacle. The real Tabernacle of God with men is therefore the Lord Jesus Christ.

The tabernacle had to be built specifically according to the pattern that God will give them, Hebrews 8:5. Israel obeyed all instructions concerning the construction of the tabernacle.

This is how obedience to God is measured, when God asks for something to be done in a certain way, then those who are obedient to God’s will, will do exactly what He commands.

The curtains of an artistic design of cherubim were made according to the command and pattern in Exodus 26:1-6.

The curtains of goat’s hair were made according to the command and pattern in Exodus 26:7-13.

The curtains of ram’s skin dyed red and badger skins were made according to the command and pattern in Exodus 26:14.

The boards and connecting bars for the frame and walls of the tabernacle were made according to the command and pattern in Exodus 26:15-30.

The veil with its four pillars and the screen with its five pillars were made according to the command and pattern in Exodus 26:31-33 / Exodus 26:36-37.

For a more detailed look at the materials described here, see notes from Exodus 25 and Exodus 26.

Go To Exodus 37


"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."