Part 5 of the overview of the Exodus (ch. 25-31).
Exodus Chapter 25:
Within the 40 days, God gives Moses instructions on building his special Tabernacle (tent) and all of the holy objects that go inside of it. He told Moses what materials he would need to collect from the Israelites, which includes precious metals like gold, silver, bronze, soft materials like thread in red, blue, and purple, as well as linen, goat hair, and tanned ram skin, as well as goat leather. In addition, acacia wood for structural building materials, liquids like olive oil for lamps, as well as incense and fragrant liquids. Lastly, precious stones for the chest piece that the priest would wear.
They are to build an Ark (or box) for the ten commandments made of acacia wood overlaid in gold, a gold lampstand (menorah), and an acacia wood table overlaid in gold for the “presence bread” with gold utensils and a gold incense altar. All of this will go inside the Tabernacle. Then a bronze animal sacrifice altar with bronze utensils and a bronze washbasin will go outside the entrance to the Tabernacle.
Details of the sacred objects: [All units are estimates from NLT translation]
The Ark is 115 cm long, 69 cm wide, and 69 cm high. Its made of acacia wood overlaid in gold and has a lid that has two hammered sculptures of cherubs on top. (The 10 commandments, the preserved manna, and eventually Moses’ staff will go in this box.) It has four gold rings on the corners for two wooden poles overlaid in gold to slide through each pair, on either side, so it can be carried.
The table is 92 cm long, 46 cm wide, and 96 cm high. It is made of acacia wood and overlaid in gold. It has gold utensils like bowls, ladles, pitchers, and jars to be used in pouring out liquid offerings. It also has four gold holes on the corners for wooden rods overlaid in gold to slide through, so it can be carried.
The lampstand (menorah), is made of a single piece of hammered gold, and that includes the base, center stem, lamp cups, and decorations like the buds and petals. It is a single stem with six branches, three on either side. At the top of the stem and branches, it will be lamp cups shaped like almond blossoms (complete with buds and petals) that will hold oil that will burn to produce light in the Tabernacle, and it’s made of 34 kg of pure gold.
Exodus Chapter 26:
The covering for the roof of the Tabernacle will be made of 10 long sheets (each 12.9 meters long and 1.8 meters wide) of red, blue, purple, and gold, yarn with cherubs decorations on them, connected together into two halves each made of 5 sheets. The two halves will be connected by 50 golden clasps inserted into 50 blue yarn loops on each half. Then 11 sheets of goat hair (each 13.8 meters long and 1.8 meters wide) will be combined into two groups of five and six respectively. They will be clasped together with 50 bronze clasps inserted into 50 blue yarn loops. The sixth sheet will be double folded over and will hang over the back of the Tabernacle, while 46 cm on each side (north and south) will hang over the side. The colorful sheet will go over the ark as a roof, then the goat hair sheet on top of that, then a large layer of tanned ram skin, and finally a layer of fine goatskin on top to complete the roof of the Tabernacle.
The framework of the Tabernacle will be made of 48 beams (each beam 4.6 meters high and 69 cm sq. wide) of acacia wood, with two pegs underneath. The pegs will insert into a silver base, that sits on top of another silver base (2 silver bases for each beam). There will be 20 beams on the north side, 20 on the south, and 8 on the west (6 mainframes and two more to reinforce the back corners), with an opening on the east for the entrance. The reinforcement pair of frames in the back corners will be attached by gold rings at the top. These wooden beams will be overlaid in gold. There will be 15 crossbars that run across each side of the Tabernacle that has beams, 5 on each side. The cross beams are made of acacia wood and overlaid in gold, and gold loops are to be attached to the beams so the crossbars can go through them.
There will be an entrance curtain for the holy of holies in the Tabernacle made of linen decorated with cherubs and made of red, blue, and purple yarn. This curtain is to be hung on gold hooks attached with clasps to four beams made of acacia wood overlaid with gold, and each beam is set into a silver base. The space behind this curtain is the Most Holy Place and the Ark will be placed behind it. A similarly designed curtain will be at the entrance of the Tabernacle hanging on gold hooks attached to five acacia wood beams overlaid in gold, each mounted on bronze bases. The space between both sets of curtains is the Holy Place (or Sanctuary), and it will be as space for the gold table for the Presence Bread on the north side, and the lampstand on the south side, all in front of the Most Holy Place.
Exodus Chapter 27:
The Bronze Altar for the burnt offerings is to be 2.3 meters wide, 2.3 meters long, and 1.4 meters high, and four horns are to be cut at the top, on the four corners. It will be hollow made of acacia wood planks, and then overlaid in bronze. It will have bronze grating set halfway down the side of the altar, under the ledge. Utensils like ash buckets, shovels, basins, meat forks, and firepans, are to be made of bronze. Four bronze rings (one on each corner) will be attached to the grating (two each on opposite sides) for the carrying poles. The two carrying poles are made of acacia wood and overlaid in bronze and slide through the two rings each on either side.
The boundaries of the Courtyard will be built from wooden beams and fine linen. The courtyard boundary will be 46 meters on the north and south sides and 23 meters on the west and east sides. The courtyard boundary will be supported by 60 acacia wood beams altogether, each with one bronze base, as well as silver hooks and rings, for the linen curtains to hang. There are to be 20 on the south and north sides each, 10 on the west, and 10 at the entrance on the east. For the east entrance, there will be a break in the main courtyard boundary, which will make room for a separate entrance curtain. The east side will have three beams on the north and south side with fine linen curtains (6.9 meters on each side), connected to the rest of the courtyard boundary, and these beams will have bronze bases and silver hooks. However, the entrance curtain on the east will be supported by the remaining four wooden beams and that curtain will be 9.2 meters long. This entrance curtain will be made of red, blue, and purple thread and embroidered with cherubs, just like the Tabernacle entrance and Most Holy Place curtains. All of the curtains will be 2.3 meters high, and the whole courtyard will be 23 x 46 meters in area. All the articles used in the rituals of the Tabernacle, including all the tent pegs used to support the Tabernacle and the courtyard curtains, must be made of bronze.
The lampstand (menorah) is to be lit with pressed olive oil and must burn continually all night. This is a command to all future generations. The Most Holy Place is 4.6 meters square and the Holy Place is 9.2 x 4.6 meters, this makes the Tabernacle 13.8 meters long by 4.6 meters wide. Since the courtyard is 23 x 46 meters, then it must be 18.4 meters away from the Tabernacle on the north and south sides, and 31.8 meters from the east and west of the Tabernacle.
Exodus Chapter 28:
Moses’ brother Aaron, and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar are to be set apart as the leading priest. In this role, they will wear sacred garments. These garments include a chest piece, an ephod, a robe, a patterned tunic, a turban, and a sash. They are made with fine linen cloth, gold thread, and colored yarn (using blue, purple, and scarlet), as well as gold and precious stones.
The ephod is to be made of fine woven linen and skillfully embroidered with gold and blue, purple, and scarlet thread. There will be two pieces, in front and in back, joined together with shoulder pieces. A decorative sash will be made of the same materials. Two onyx stones are to be mounted in settings of gold filigree for the shoulder pieces of the ephod, gold-braided cords will attach the filigree to each part of the ephod. Each stone is to be engraved with six of the names of the sons of Israel in the order of their birth. This way the priest remembers they are representing all 12 sons of Israel.
The chest piece will be worn when seeking a decision from God. It is a single piece that will fold over into a 23 cm square pouch. It is to be woven from the same colored materials as the ephod. There will be 12 mounts in a 3×4 pattern made of gold filigree on the chest pieces. Each mount will hold one of 12 gemstones. Each stone is to have one of the names of each son of Israel on them. The types of stones are as follows: In the first row, red carnelian, pale-green peridot, and an emerald. In the second row, turquoise, blue lapis lazuli, and a white moonstone. In the third row, orange jacinth, an agate, and a purple amethyst. The fourth row will have, blue-green beryl, an onyx, and green jasper. The top rings of the chest piece will be attached to the ephod with braided cords of pure gold thread. There will be two gold rings at the top of the chest piece that connects to the gold settings of the shoulder piece of the ephod. Then four more gold rings, two on the inside edges of the chest piece next to the ephod, two on the ephod, below the shoulder pieces but above the knot where the decorative sash is fastened to the ephod. The four rings will connect the ephod and chest piece with blue cords. This chest piece will be a continual reminder that the priest represents the people when he comes before God. The Urim and Thummim are to be inserted into the pouch part of the chest piece. These objects will determine God’s will when the people need a decision made by God.
A blue robe is to be made as a single piece that will be worn by the high priest (Aaron) underneath the ephod. It will have a reinforced collar and decorative ornaments that stick out from the hem. The ornaments will be pomegranates made of blue, red, and purple yarn and gold bells, and these elements will hand from the robe in an alternating pattern. The bells will jingle when the high priest is moving around in God’s presence, and wearing them will keep him from dying. Then there must be a gold medallion with “Holy to the Lord” engraved on it. This medallion will attach to Aaron’s turban with a blue cord, and it will be on his forehead. The medallion will remind Aaron that when he is operating in God’s presence he will take on the guilt of people when they bring sacrifices and objects to the Tabernacle. Aaron’s patterned tunic will be made from fine linen cloth, and the turban will be made from this linen as well. The sash is to be decorated with colorful embroidery. Aaron’s sons will also have tunics, sashes, and special head coverings. In addition, there are all have linen undergarments that cover from their hips to their thighs. All these things must be worn by Aaron and his sons when they enter the Tabernacle, otherwise, they will die.
Exodus Chapter 29:
Aaron and his sons are to be consecrated with anointing oil by Moses, while clothed with these garments. The consecration ceremony is to proceed as follows. They need to get a young bull and two rams with no defects. Then make loaves of bread, thin cakes mixed with olive oil, and wafers spread with oil. All from wheat flour with no yeast, and then placed into a basket and brought to the Tabernacle entrance along with the animals.
Aaron is to present himself at the entrance of the Tabernacle, wash up with water, and put on the holy garments of the high priest. Then anointing oil is to be poured over his head. Then his sons are the be dressed in their tunics, sashes, and turbans, and presented at the Tabernacle entrance. Then they too will be anointed into the priesthood forever.
Now the young bull is brought to the Tabernacle entrance and sacrificed as a sin offering. Aaron and his sons will lay their hands on its head, and then it will be slaughtered. Some of its blood will go on the horns of the altar with their fingers, and the rest will be poured at the base of the altar. All the fat around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat around them, will be burned on the altar. The rest of the animals will be burned outside the camp.
Aaron and his sons will put their hands on one of the rams and slaughter it at the entrance as a burnt offering. Then Moses will splatter its blood against all sides of the altar. Then they will cut it into pieces and wash the internal organs and the legs. All the parts of the body are to be burned up together completely on the altar.
Aaron and his sons will take the last ram and lay their hands on its head. This ram is an ordination offering. Moses is to slaughter it and put some of its blood on the right ear lobes, right thumbs, and right big toes. Then the rest of the blood is to be splattered against all sides of the altar. Moses has to take some of the blood on the altar and mix it with anointing oil and splash it on Aaron and his sons. At this point, their garments will be set apart as holy. Afterward, they are to gather the fat of the ram (including the fat of the broad tail, around the internal organs, the long lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and their fat, along with the right thigh) along with, one round loaf of bread, one thin cake mixed with olive oil, and one wafer from the basket of bread. Aaron and his sons are to wave the bread and the meat in God’s presence. Then Moses is to burn the bread and meat on the altar with the burnt offering. Aaron is to take the right breast of the ordination ram and lift it up, and it is to be kept as Moses’ special portion. Other portions of the ordination ram will be set aside for Aaron and his sons. In the future, whenever the Israelites lift up a peace offering, a portion of it must be set aside for Aaron and his descendants. This is their permanent right, and it is a sacred offering from the Israelites to their God.
Aaron’s sacred garments must be preserved for his descendants who succeed him, and they will wear them when they are anointed and ordained. The descendant who succeeds him as a high priest will wear these clothes for seven days as he ministers in the Tabernacle and the Holy Place. Moses is to take the set aside meat of the ordination ram and boil it in a sacred place. Then Aaron and his sons will eat this meat, along with the rest of the bread in the basket, at the Tabernacle entrance. Only Aaron and his sons are allowed to eat this meat and bread in their purification ceremony. If any of the ordination meat or bread remains until the morning, it must be burned. The ordination ceremony will go on for seven days. Each day they must sacrifice a young bull as a sin offering to purify them, then they are to cleanse the bronze altar by purifying it with anointing oil. They must purify the altar every day for seven days. After that, the altar will be absolutely holy, and whatever touches it will become holy.
The daily sacrifices are to be as follows, two lambs that are a year old, one in the morning and one in the evening. With each lamb, they are to offer two quarts of choice flour mixed, one quart of pure olive oil, and one quart of wine as a liquid offering. These are burnt offerings to be made each day for future generations. As they are made daily, God will speak with Moses and the Israelites at the entrance to the Tabernacle. God’s presence will consecrate the Tabernacle and Aaron and his sons. Then God will live among the people of Israel in his own tent, and they will know that he alone is their God.
Exodus Chapter 30:
The incense altar will be 46 cm square and 92 cm high, made of acacia wood, and will have four horns cut into the top corners. The entire thing will be overlaid in gold, with gold molding around the top. The golden incense altar will be placed in the Holy Place just in front of the curtain to the Most Holy Place. Two gold rings will be attached to each side of the altar, these rings are for the two carrying poles, which are made of acacia wood overlaid in gold. Every morning when Aaron maintains the lamps, and evening when he lights the lamps, he must burn fragrant incense on the altar. This is a continuous law for all generations. No unholy incense goes on this altar, nor any burnt, grain, or liquid offerings. Once a year Aaron will purify the incense altar with the blood of the purification offering.
Whenever a census is taken, each man counted who is 20 years old or older, must pay a ransom of a small piece of silver (half a shekel) as a sacred offering to the Lord for himself. No plague will strike the people as they are counted. Everyone, no matter their economic status must pay the same amount. This money is to be used to care for the Tabernacle.
A bronze washbasin and stand must be made for washing. It will be placed at the entrance to the Tabernacle. The priest must wash before they enter the Tabernacle, or else they will die. This is a continuous law for all generations.
The anointing oil for the priest will be made of 5.7 kg of pure myrrh, 2.9 kg of fragrant cinnamon, 2.9 kg of fragrant calamus, 5.7 kg of cassia, and 3.8 liters of olive oil. These ingredients are to be skillfully blended together. This anointing oil will be used to anoint the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and all of the sacred objects in the Holy Place and their accessories, as well as the bronze altar, utensils, and washbasin. When consecrated with this oil, these objects will become holy and whatever touches them will become holy. Aaron and his son, and other generations of priests are to be anointed with it, but no one else can be anointed with it. Nor can anyone else mix it for themselves outside of the priest, or else they are cut off from the community.
Exodus Chapter 31:
God revealed to Moses that he has spiritually gifted Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah to have the wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts like metalworking, engraving, and mounting gemstones, wood carving. In addition, Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, is blessed to be his assistant. In addition, other gifted craftsmen amongst the Israelites have been blessed with the skills to work under Bezalel and Oholiab, to create all of the parts of the Tabernacle and priestly garments.
God then reminded Moses that there are six days each week for ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the Lord. Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. This is a continuous law for all generations. It is a permanent sign of my covenant with the people of Israel. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day, he stopped working and rested” (Gen 2:2). God had finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai and gave him two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant (10 commandments), written by the finger of God.
3D Animations of the Tabernacle Design