EXODUS 38
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For further commentary please refer to notes on Exodus 27 under the 'Tabernacle Series' tab.

1. The divine plan in 3 fold dispensational development Jew, Gentile and Millennial.

2. Gentile outer Court, Holy Place (ecclesia), Most Holy (Kingdom perfected order).

3. This plan approximates to the Apocalyptic temple City (the ecclesia, true believers).

The chief elements of the outer Court were brass (the altar, the laver, the 60 pillars) representing sin's flesh, silver (redemption) and white linen (righteousness). Together these convey the ideas of a redeemed multitude upholding the righteousness of God, through sacrifice and washing (purification, baptism). *

Brazen Altar - the Altar of Burnt Offering

1 And he made the altar of burnt offering of shittim wood: five cubits was the length thereof, and five cubits the breadth thereof; it was foursquare; and three cubits the height thereof.

As we look at the shadow again, we see circumcised men approach "the door of the congregation" with something in their hands: either a lamb or a kid of the goats, or it may be, leading a sheep or bullock or goat or heifer. Their circumcision is not enough' they must offer sacrifice to be accepted. This is connected with the leading feature of the court, inside the gate--the great altar of sacrifice--"hollow with boards"--a temporary structure covered with brass, and measuring about eight feet long and broad, and nearly five feet high from the ground, with horns at the four corners on which to bind the heaped-up sacrifices with cords; and four rings for the insertion of staves to carry it when on travel; a brazen net-work underneath to give free action to the consuming fire: and accessory utensils--such as pots, shovels, basins, flesh hooks, fire-pans,--all made of brass (Exod. 38:1-7).

The language of this part of the type is unmistakable. It tells us that sinful man, even with the utmost docility of spiritual circumcision, and desiring to come within the walls of righteousness, cannot approach God acceptably except by sacrifice. What the significance of this is we have often had to consider. In the type, it was an animal, whose life-blood poured out was a confession that God is just in requiring death as the visitation of sin; that He who is so great in the underived and deathless nature and vastness of His being; Who is so unsearchable in the greatness of His Power and the perfection of His wisdom--is righteous in making disobedience and slight a capital offence not to be passed over even by mercy, except when His dreadful sovereign supremacy has been asserted, recognized, and vindicated.

But this terrible truth, which is the basis of all acceptable worship, was only asserted and acknowledged in the shadow when the worshippers under Moses approached with the appointed sacrifice. It had to be enforced in fact as well as in token, before the forbearance of God could grant the remission of sins unto life eternal. Granting life eternal is taking a man into His eternal fellowship without reserve: such abounding grace could only be vouchsafed in connection with the strictest enforcement of His unchallengeable supremacy -- of which He declares Himself "jealous", as is reasonable: for who should be supreme but the Eternal?

He proposed this enforcement in the actual blood-shedding of an actual representative man, in whom the individuality of all other accepted men should be merged in the way appointed in the institutions of the Gospel. And even this man, to be acceptable, had to be faultless as regards the principle that had been set at naught--the principle of absolute submission: though a sufferer from the evil effects springing from its subversion in the first Adam, and its continuing subversion in all his sinful descendants.

Such a man could not be found in the ordinary propagation of flesh and blood. Therefore He had to provide him, which he did in the way recorded in Luke 1:35. It was, therefore, all the work of His own favour (or grace) in subserviency to the indispensable assertion of His own supremacy and holiness.

It pleased Him to foreshadow this arrangement of His love and wisdom in the appointments of the Mosaic service for centuries before He decreed the moment suitable for carrying it out.

"The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin", as Paul declared: that is, it was not compatible with the Divine wisdom that sin should be remitted unto life eternal in connection with a merely typical acknowledgement of the principle that had been violated. Had He considered the shedding of the blood of bulls and goats a sufficient expression of the principle, to warrant the forgiveness of sin and bestowal of life eternal, and appointed it so, then the blood of bulls and goats would have taken away sin.

But His wisdom viewed the matter otherwise, and enlightened reason concurs in His appointment: (for though reason by itself is no guide in divine matters, it is a faculty intended to reflect the divine reason when the light of the knowledge thereof shines in the heart). God required that there should be an actual assertion of the violated principle of His supremacy in the death of the men under sin. Animals were not sinners: their death was no meeting of the case. It was a mere prophecy in figure of what was coming.

God purposed the death of one representing all who should be one with that one; who should thus die for them, and by whose stripes they should be healed, and with whose blood by a figure they should be washed: not, however, on the principle of substitution, for God's righteousness is not violated in the death of Christ, but "declared". It would be violated in a man dying who ought not to die. The provided representative became related to death by derivation from a mother who was a descendant of the man by whom death entered into the world.

He could, therefore, stand for all who come unto God by him.

... The truth is that man, as he now is, is separated from God, and cannot return except in the way of God's appointment, and must perish apart from that way. No truth is more clearly visible than that, as we gaze upon the tabernacle, standing inside its curtained enclosure of linen...

The gospel tells us that "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself" (2 Cor. 5:19), on His own terms: and that apart from these, man is without God, and has no hope (Eph. 2:12). The Mosaic institution shows us God in the typical tabernacle for reconciliation, and the congregation outside destitute of His friendship, unless they conformed to the institutions and appointments related to that tabernacle. The lesson thus doubly enforced is unmistakable, and leaves no alternative but that of complete submission, which God requires and reason demands. The acceptable attitude is often enjoined in the Scriptures, and clearly expressed in God's own words: "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" (Isa. 66:2).

Law of Moses Ch 16



Brazen Altar - Symbolic of dedication.

A large structure lOft x I0ft x 6ft placed before the (Christ) door of the Holy Place, upon which all the blood sacrifices (sin, burnt, peace) were offered by the Aaronic priesthood

in the Mosaic mediatorial institution, foreshadowing Christ, the One mediator between God and man (I Tim:2.5,6), who through the sacrifice of himself obtained redemption for himself and his followers who identify with him in the great salvation (Hb.9. 7,12, 26; Hb 10. 12-14, Pslm. 40).

Constructed of shittim wood (acacia) (flesh) overlain with brass, further plates of brass were added from the censors of Korah, Dathan and Abiram following their rebellion/apostasy (Nu. 16.1-38). Thus the brazen altar served as constant reminder against apostasy.

With the four horns, the Whole altar in symbol and in function represented death to the flesh or the element of repudiation of sin in the flesh or doctrine of the atonement.

The four horns represent spiritual Israel or the altar community in judicial powerful manifestation, the horn being a symbol of power, divine power (see Zech.l, and Rev. 4 where "four" is seen in the judicial manifestation of Spirit energy consuming Diabolos flesh, or total overthrow of man's misrule, filling the earth with rainbow glory).

Joab grabbed hold of the horns of the altar, but received no mercy at the hands of Solomon, as no doubt many will be so disappointed when consigned to the Second Death by the antitypical Benaiah (1 Kgs. 2.28-34).

The "Daily (TAMID) or evening and morning sacrifice was intimately connected with the Brazen Altar, and removed because of Israel's apostasy, by the Little Horn of the Goat (Dah.8.9-26), and gives rise to the prophecy of the evening and morning (EREV BOKER) epoch before the sanctuary is avenged or cleansed. The Altar community will rise again to restore the Daily and avenge themselves on the latter day Assyrian and his cohorts AS THE AVENGING FOUR HORNS (Ezk.l, Rev.11.1-15).

The restoration of the Altar in the Temple of Ezekiel's prophecy (Ezk.43.l2-27), now much larger (144ft x 144ft), on the summit of Mount Zion, together with the slaughter blocks on the North side (Ezk.40.39-43), signify clearly the blood sacrifices restored in the Kingdom Age, some officiated by the Prince (Christ) (Ezk.45), attesting once again to the fundamental doctrine of the Atonement in a vivid way.

In summary: Yahweh in sacrificial manifestation. *

8 And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the looking glasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

The Laver.

'...after the altar of burnt offering, there is a laver or large vessel, filled with water, at which the priests have to wash (or lave) before entering into the tabernacle to perform its services.

As the Lord Jesus and the saints are the antitypical Aaron and his sons, the significance bears on them; and bearing on them, bears also on all who will finally be reconciled to God, through them, on the principle that, whatever is true of the firstfruits, is true also of the harvest coming after.

After sacrifice, washing--purification, making clean. This is no accidental order of events.

...After reconciliation must come reformation, if the reconciliation is to continue in force. The sinner must "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith he is called" (Eph. 4:1), and, if he do not, he will be rejected: so Paul says (Heb. 6:8), and in preaching thus, he only re-echoes the plain teaching of Christ, who says, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away" (John 15:2).

"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love" (John 15:10). The unprofitable servant is to be cast out (Matt. 25:30). We must walk as children of light (Eph. 5:8) otherwise "we shall die" (Rom. 8:13). The Lord is our judge at last as to whether we are what he describes as "fit for the Kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). We appear before him for this purpose, at his appearing--that he may render to us according to our deeds (2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1).

Life after introduction to Christ is, therefore, a probation. This is the lesson of the laver. It is not enough to have God's righteousness declared in sacrifice, and endorsed in our baptism into the death of Christ: we must wash in the laver. We must conform to the exhortation, "Wash you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings" (Isa. 1:16).

Literally this is done by subjecting the mind to the influence of the word of God. The word of God is always spoken of as the cleansing power (John 15:3; Psa. 119:9; Eph. 5:26), and, in actual experience, it is found to be so. Kept clean by the word, we shall be qualified for admission into the holiest, in the change to the incorruptible.

...Humility of mind---circumcision of heart--enters the Christ-gate-way, on receiving the gospel; offers the Christ-sacrifice, in being baptized into the death of Christ; washes in the Christ-laver in coming under the purifying power of his commandments: enters the preliminary "holy" place of the divine Tabernacle, in becoming a member of the body of Christ: to radiate the candlestick light of the truth, and offer the incense-sacrifice of praise continually, and eat of the bread of Israel's hope, and wait for the manifestation of the glory of God in the great day of atonement, when all things reconciled will be gathered together in the" holiest" under one head---even Christ: and the true tabernacle of God will be with men, and there shall be no more curse and no more pain and no more death.

Law of Moses Ch 16



Made out of brass from mirrors (repudiation of vanity), a symbol of purification by water, the water of regeneration (Jhn. 3, Titus 3.5). Washing preceded all actions connected with the outer court and Holy places, as Baptism precedes a life of holiness in Christ.

Pslm 42 shows the hart longing, thirsting for the water brooks in the heat of the wilderness chase, "when shall I come and appear before God."

The persecuted Hart was the emblem of the early, Christians who thirsted for God through baptism and He who is the fountain of eternal Iife. There were 10 lavers in the Temple of Solomon, in the outer Court representing a purified and washed community of true believers who as king priests will minister and intercede in their immortal priestly role in the Age to Come.

The anti type is seen in the waters of Zion which issue forth as an eternal wellspring of life-giving waters from beneath the Christ Altar (Ezk 47, Jhn 7). purifying the Whole earth of all its dross commencing with the Dead Sea. flowing as a broad river the steams of which maketh glad the city of EIohim (Pslm 46:4,33.2l, 35.6.7): and the saints shall leap for joy.

But 'Yahweh's eyes are upon the faithful of the land (Pslm 101:8) *

18 And the hanging for the gate of the court was needlework, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen: and 20 cubits was the length, and the height in the breadth was five cubits, answerable to the hangings of the court.


The Christ door.

This was the only way into the tabernacle. It was a beautiful tapestry curtain of blue, purple, scarlet and fine linen suspended on four pillars representing God manifestation or the Christ door, the only way into the holy Courts of Yahweh, there is no other.

'Verily I say unto you. He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and robber'. (Jhn 10:11)

Thus there is only one way into the Kingdom not many. We either find this way or we labour in vain. Christ's words, as the door, warn against Apostasy or the wrong way, otherwise why his warning? It allows for no compromise, no fudging, no deceit. nor treachery.

The four pillars point to the four gospels; as it were 4 mighty pillars which show the Christ door or way in its four aspects (lion. ox. man, eagle).

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus' (Phil 2:5).

The sacrifices of the offerer were brought to the door of the tabernacle (Lev. l. 3-7). and the offerer cut the throat of his offering, and identified with the poured out blood principle that "without the shedding of blood no remission" {Lev 17.11}. Here was atonement (Kaphtol =┬Ěcovering) which could only be through the Lamb of God (Jhn l.29) *


THE Tabernacle did not stand nakedly in the midst of the people. It was fenced off from familiar contact by a wall from seven to eight feet high which stood all around it at a considerable distance from the tabernacle itself, enclosing an area of 11,250 square feet, forming a court about 150 feet long and 75 feet across with the tabernacle in the centre. The wall was not a brick wall or a stone wall, but a curtain wall of linen suspended on wooden pillars--the pillars standing in brass sockets let into the ground; each pillar ornamented with a silver capital, and a fillet of silver with a hook inserted, to receive the suspending rings of the curtain.

The material of the curtains is the first thing that challenges discernment as regards spiritual significance. Fine linen is invariably employed to typify righteousness (Rev. 19:8; Psa. 45:14; Matt. 22:11-12). The whole economy of the Divine work upon earth of which the tabernacle was a veiled prophecy as well as a germinal commencement, is walled off by righteousness. The unrighteous world has nothing to do with it. "The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9). "There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie" (Rev. 21:27). The world in general lieth in wickedness: that which is prevalent in it is not of the Father (1 John 2:16).

The linen-walled enclosure of the tabernacle tells us that the world is outside the purpose of God concerning everlasting things, or as Paul literally expresses it, "has no hope, and is without God in the world" (Eph. 2:12). It is a speaking testimony on this first and most unpopular of all first principles of the truth. People in our day are slow to recognize this simple lesson. They will listen to the doctrine of God's existence: and admire the beauty of His commandments, and even applaud the gospel of the kingdom and life eternal.

But when you tell them of an outer wall of righteousness which separates them as mere children of nature from the household of God and the future glory connected with it, they are incredulous, and worse--rebellious. They have been taught they have a right to the goodness of the world to come, "if there is one"--which is their doubtful way of expressing themselves. They have not realized that as sinners, they have no rights whatever except the right to occupy a grave, and that it is the Lord's self-restraint--because of His purpose, that leads to their being tolerated at all.

The Mosaic parable will be useful to all such if it enable them to realize that "they that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:8), and that a man to be acceptable to God, must come into harmony with His institutions, and the principles which they embody. Parabolically speaking, they must come inside the walls of righteousness with which He surrounded the tabernacle of His love.

This they may do by entering the gate at the east side, which was "a hanging of blue and purple and scarlet and fine twined linen", suspended on four pillars (Exod. 27:9-16). We have already seen that these materials in combination represent Christ.

Through Christ, and through him alone, many sinners enter. He proclaimed himself "the way" and "the door": which harmonizes with the type before us. When we enter through him, we are inside the encampment of righteousness which the Lord has pitched in the earth.

Law of Moses Ch 16

19 And their pillars were 4, and their sockets of brass 4; their hooks of silver, and the overlaying of their chapiters and their fillets of silver. 

The four pillars may be taken to mean the Gospel narrators, on whose united testimony, Christ is held up before the gaze of all men, as "The Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world".

In addition to these four, there were 56 pillars planted round the tabernacle for the holding up of the linen curtains. Many notable servants of God were employed in the work of holding up the work of His righteousness in all the ages during which, "at sundry times and in divers manners, he spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets".

A divine enumeration of them might show us the 56, besides the four evangelists. The sockets of brass show us their standing in the flesh: the Setting of the sockets in the earth, their placing among the people to whom the testimony was delivered; the shittim wood of which the pillars were composed, the failing nature in which their service was rendered; their silver mountings, the spiritual garnishings which qualified them for divine employment: the hooks, the pins stuck in the earth, and the cords connecting the pillars with the pins for support--the private and faithful coadjutors who upheld them in their work.

Law of Moses Ch 16.

Gold and silver.

All was pure gold in the Holy and Most Holy. Brass in the Outer Court and silver. The sum total was taken out of Egypt, a dedication of the people, representing the gold of a tried and precious faith, the polished silver of redemption, brass the flesh.

The 3 basic elements in holiness or God manifestation. *

Bro Richard Lister.

The Apocalyptic Messenger, March 2017

thomas.lister1@btinternet.com