BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 10, Day 5: Exodus 30-31

Summary of passages:  Exodus 30:  God is still instructing Moses here on Mount Sinai.  Here, God tells Moses how to build the altar of incense to be placed before the ark.  Incense is to be burned on this altar every morning and night.  Once a year atonement is to be made on its horns (Jews still honor this Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur).  At the census, each person must pay the Lord atonement money.  A basin is to be made for Aaron to wash himself in every time he enters the Tent of Meeting or approaches the altar.  Make an anointing oil to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the Ark, table, altar, and Aaron so they can be consecrated as holy to the Lord.  Make incense to be placed in front of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting.

Exodus 31:  God told Moses He has gifted Bezalel and Oholiab with the Spirit of God and the skill in order to make all that God has commanded Moses to make (the Tent of Meeting, the ark of Testimony with the atonement cover, table, lampstand, altar of incense, etc).

God told Moses to observe the Sabbaths which will be a sign between you and me for all the generations to come that He has made them holy.  Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death.  Anyone who does work on that day must be cut off from their people and put to death.

When God finished speaking, He gave Moses the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God with the Testimony on it (Ten Commandments) on the top of Mount Sinai.

Questions:

9a)  The prayers of the saints

b)  Every morning and every night

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We should pray every morning and every night.  We pray because we are saved, out of gratitude and longing for closeness to Jesus.  It should be worshipful.

10a)  Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting and when they approach the altar to minister by presenting an offering to God.

b)  We can use God’s word to cleanse and purify us and confess our sins to be purified.

11a)  They would die.

b)  The misuse of anointing oil or incense required one to be cut off from their people (spiritual death).

c)  Because it would be holy and only holy people may be near God.  It is sacred to God and thus must be honored.  Also, it’s a matter of obedience as well.  There are severe penalties for disobeying God and if you didn’t follow His instructions, the penalty was death.  Same for us today except our death is hell.

12a)  The Spirit of God, skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts–everything they will need to make everything God has commanded to exact specifications.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There are many ways to serve God and He will enable all of us to use our gifts for Him.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Volunteer more.

Conclusions:  Another doozy of a lesson for us.  Break this up if needs be.  The importance of being sacred and sacred objects is emphasized here and how much that means to God.  God must love us a lot to make us forever sacred.  I was hoping for questions on the Sabbath but good emphasis on how each of us are blessed by God with special gifts designed to use for Him. Gives me hope as I am still struggling to figure out what His plans are for my gifts and talents.

End Notes:  Exodus 30:  The altar was also carried with poles just like the Ark of the Covenant.  It was in the holy place (not the Most Holy Place) close to the Ark but separated by a curtain.  It was in the same room as the table and the lampstand (Exodus 25).  The altar of incense was for prayer, not for atonement of sins.

Only God could order a census, which signified Israel as His people.  Hence, when David ordered one (2 Samuel 24:1-25), he was in trouble and God plagued the people as penalty.

All are equally atoned in God’s eyes when the atonement money is the same for everyone.  This turned into the Temple Tax by New Testament times and was used for the tabernacle expenses and building.

Exodus 31:  God gives us gifts for Him, not for our selfish desires.

Note how at the very end God gives the command to keep the Sabbath holy.  God gives the work first, then the rest–as we are to honor today.

Despite the fact the New Covenant eliminated this command (Romans 14:5; Colossians 2:16-17), the principle still applies to us.  We are to work and rest–to recover and rejuvenate–to be at our best for God and to remember it is His work we do and not ours.

The Stone tablets were to be placed in the Ark–later added Aaron’s staff and manna.

Fun Fact:  Here’s where our saying comes from “written in stone.”

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 10, Day 4: Exodus 28-29

Summary of passages:  Exodus 28:  God is still directing Moses.  God decrees Aaron and his line will serve as priests and gives specifications for the garments to be worn.  God decrees how the Ephod should be made including having 12 stones, each with the name of a tribe of Israel, engraved and fastened to the ephod as a memorial to the Lord.  God gives directions for making the breastplate which also is to bear stones with the names of the 12 tribes on them as a memorial to the Lord.  He is to wear Urim and Thummim over his heart as the means of making decisions for the Israelites over his heart before the Lord.

Exodus 29:  God tells Moses how to consecrate His chosen priests through blood sacrifices, bread, and oil in an elaborate ceremony performed only once for each priest that lasted 7 days  Once done, God would be able to dwell among the Israelites and be their God.

Questions:

7a)  God

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s hard to relate this when the passage is specifically relating to priests and I have not been chosen by God to be a priest.  Hence, I’m assuming BSF is relating this to the work God has chosen each of us to do for Him, but I feel this question out-of-place when we are discussing priests in the passage.  My work is writing in whatever form that may take and raising my kids to be His kids and being a good wife to my husband and taking care of the animals He has called me to care for as well as home, etc.

8 )  Titus 3:5; Hebrews 9:14:  Titus says God saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.  Hebrews says the blood of Christ cleanses us.

Galatians 3:27:  If you accept Jesus, you are clothed in Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Titus 3:6:  Corinthians tells us that God anointed us and set his seal of ownership on us and his Spirit in our hearts.  Titus says God poured out the Holy Spirit (see previous verse for context) on us through Jesus.

Romans 3:25:  Through faith in Jesus and in his blood, Jesus is our sacrifice of atonement.

1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:5-6:  Peter says believers are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation who belong to God.  Revelation says Jesus has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom and priests to serve God.

Basically, only Aaron and his descendants could be priests and they had to go through elaborate ceremonies involving the sacrificing of animals in order to be cleansed enough to be near God and to meet with Him.  With Jesus’ blood we don’t have to go through all of the cleansing rituals for we are cleansed through Jesus forever.  We are all priests who can approach God and be near Him.

Conclusions:  The last 2 days have been killers in terms of reading and I feel these passages are being rushed for the sake of just getting through the material.  The fact they are boring to read doesn’t help much.  Here is where one may be tempted to skip out on these lessons and these weeks due to the length of the assignments (count me in, here) and the fact we are coming up to Thanksgiving is a good excuse.  And questions like number 8 here do not help the situation (anyone else utter an “Ughhhh! upon seeing this question?).  To do Exodus 25-31 properly and these questions, you need hours.  Many will skip the work here for time is something many of us have little of.  Not sure that is wise.

One suggestion:  skim the readings.  It’s a lot of regulations laid down and if you’re tempted to skip entirely, just skim.  You’ll get the gist pretty quickly.  These are passages worth re-visiting however when you do get time (like next summer).  Just suggestions in order to finish these mammoth lessons.

Another suggestion which I do frequently:  do half the lesson only and then return.  For example on this day, I only read Exodus 28 and did question 7.  One, I just didn’t have the time to do the rest.  Two, I was about to bang my head on the table repeatedly because I had just finished Day Three, which took me 2 hours.  Split these lessons up when you get frustrated.  Return fresh either later in the day or the next day.  Use the seventh day of the week to catch up.

Preview:  We do get a breather in Lessons 11 & 12 which is much less reading before reading the last 5 chapters in Exodus to finish it up before our Winter Break.  Use these easier weeks to catch up on the past two weeks of massive material and if you wish, to go ahead and work on the last five chapters of Exodus.

No one said BSF was easy and that’s why I’m here:  it pushes you to do more and learn more which I love.  But we all get fatigued. Pray for strength to power through this during the holidays for Winter Break will be here before you know it and we can all breathe again and be refreshed for Leviticus in January!

End Notes:  Exodus 28:  Priests were birthrights.  The priestly garments are beautiful as God and heaven are beautiful. The ones who made the garments were promised the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Note how the priests are to minister to God first just like today.

The ephod was like an apron or a suit of armor worn over the head.  See picture HERE  The placing of the 12 tribes on the shoulders reminded the priest that his first work was God but his second was the people and to love the people.  The names are inscribed on precious gemstones, showing how precious we are to God.

Scholars do not know what Urim and Thummim are but they guess them to be stones that may have been used for discernment of God’s word.  The words mean “light and perfections” and are mentioned in several places in the Bible.

The bells on the robe were for the sake of the people who could not see the priest inside the Most Holy place.  The people would know the offering was accepted if the bells rang for the priest had not been struck dead.

The High Priest was adorned.  The other priests wore simple tunics.

Nakedness was a tribute of other priests worshipping other pagan gods.  Hence, this command may be to thwart this.

Note the contrast between this High Priest and Our High Priest, Jesus, who came simply and unadorned.

Short five-minute video showing all pieces of the clothing while reading the Exodus 28:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyAa6nh-hN0

Short four-minute video clip of T.D. Jakes explaining Urim and Thummin and how it applies to us today:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGuGXKdZSIo

Exodus 29:  Described here, the consecration actually takes place in Leviticus 8, which set aside the priests for God and required sacrificial blood and fellowship bread.  This was a public ceremony that took place one time only.  After the cleansing, they were clothed, freely, like we are clothed in Christ at no cost to us.  Then the priests were anointed like we are with the Holy Spirit.

The sin offering was the bull which symbolically took the sin from Aaron and his sons as they laid their hands upon it.  The burnt offering was the ram which also represented the sins of the people.

The consecration offering involved the applying of blood to their ears (which heard God’s laws), their hands (which did His will), and their feet (which follow Him).  This all took place on the right side because the right side is considered our best side since most of us are right-handed.  The oil represented the Holy Spirit.

The wave offering showed devotion to God.  Then the priests could eat once they were cleansed and atoned for.  This showed the continual, inner relationship we need to have with God.

All new priests performed this ceremony which took 7 days.  Then sacrifices were made twice daily, at the beginning and end of each day.  These were performed up until New Testament times so the presence of God would be near them.

God consecrates so that He can dwell among us.  It is a long, arduous process, but so ever worthwhile.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 10, Day 3: Exodus 25:23-27:21

Summary of passage:  The Lord is still directing Moses on Mt. Sinai with regards to the tabernacle.  God told Moses to make a table and dishes of pure gold to hold the bread of the Presence on and a lampstand.  God gave Moses specific instructions on how to build the tabernacle and the curtain that would separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place (where God would dwell).  God told Moses how to build the altar for offerings and the courtyard.  There is to be lamps burning all day.

Questions:

5)  Table with the bread of the Presence:  Jesus is now the bread of life.

Golden lampstand:  The lamps are always to be burning and Jesus is the light of the world, always light, never dark, shining his light everywhere.  Note the repetition of 3’s here–pointing to the Triune God.  Jesus is the lamp, the light of the World.

Inner curtain or veil:  Upon Jesus’ death, this curtain was torn in two, ending the separation between God and man.  His blood allowed us to enter the Most Holy Place and his body (the curtain) opened a “new, living way.”

Altar of burnt offering:  Jesus was the last burnt offering man ever needed as his blood took the place of animal’s blood and cleanse us all forever. [If you keep reading the Leviticus passage given, you will glean more.  This burnt offering was the atonement offering for forgiveness of our sins.]

6a)  “Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you” on the mountain.

b)  God is a holy God and in order for us to be near him, we had to be cleansed and it had to be done right.  Everything had to be an exact representation of the heavenly reality.

Conclusions:  These sections of the Bible with listings of specifications is hard for us to read especially with units given that we no longer use.  I understand its importance; still, it doesn’t make it any easier to do these lessons.

End Notes:  Exodus 25:  The Arch of Titus has a depiction of the table from the tabernacle he rebuilt after the other one was destroyed. It closely resembles the specifications given here.  The Arch of Titus was built by his brother, Emperor Domitian, in 82 AD in Rome after his death to commemorate his victories which included the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Arch serves as a model for the Arc of Tri0umphe in Paris today and other arches around the world.

Herod rebuilt the temple in 20-19 BC which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.  Model of Herod’s Temple HERE  This is the second temple.  The first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC when the Israelites were enslaved.  Solomon rebuilt the temple which was then renovated by Herod and known as Herod’s temple.  There are no records of what Solomon’s temple or the First Temple looked like.

There were 12 breads of Presence kept on this table, one for each tribe of Israel.  Leviticus 24:5-9 gives more details.  It was replaced every week and only eaten by the priests.  This bread is also known as the “face of God” and was to be eaten in His presence.

We can picture the lampstand similar to the modern-day Menorah.  The almond tree was the first to bloom in the spring, representing new life.

From Revelation 4:5, the 7 lamps represent the Holy Spirit.

The light from the lamps, instead of representing Jesus, could also point to God’s presence with us (Numbers 6:25) as light in the Old Testament represented victory and life (Psalm 27:1).

A talent of pure gold was 75 pounds.

Exodus 26:  We must remember right now the tabernacle is a tent as the Israelites are moving around in the desert for 40 years.  It isn’t until they settle down that a permanent dwelling is constructed.

Note how God gives directions from the inside out–just like He builds us.

The curtain with the cherubim could only be seen from the inside just like in heaven we will see cherubim (Psalm 80:1, Isaiah 37:16, and Ezekiel 10:3).

The goats’ hair was most likely black and similar to modern-day felt.  It hid the inner layer just like heaven is hidden to us.  The lamb skins and sea cows’ skins would have been added protection for the tabernacle.  [Anyone else wonder how they got skins from sea cows?]  Result:  complete darkness except for the lamps burning bright.

The use of silver as the foundation should draw parallels to Jesus’ work.  It separated the tabernacle from the floor like Jesus separates us from sin and the rest of the world.  Silver is the payment for sin and redemption.  (See Exodus 21:32, Leviticus 5:15, 27:3, 27:6, Numbers 18:16, and Deuteronomy 22:19)

The center crossbar would be unseen just like God.

The veil was thick, impossible to see through.  Behind the Most Holy Place was only the Ark of the Covenant.  Only the high priest could go into the sacred place and only once a year.

Inside the temple we have an altar, a table, and a lamp:  prayer, fellowship, and light for understanding.

Exodus 27:  Our altar today is the cross.  Horns represented strength and power.

The courtyard was a barrier to God yet the way to approach him with only one gate–one way to God–as Jesus is today.

Scholars say bronze represents judgments since it is forged out of fire.  Note the juxtaposition of bronze and silver here in the courtyard:  redemption through Jesus who took upon our judgement.

The tabernacle was a tent, meant to be moved.  God’s point here is this:  where you go, I go and where you dwell, I dwell.  I am with you always in your troubles and despair, your victories and triumphs.

Oil represents the Holy Spirit.  It is never to go out as the Holy Spirit within us never departs. Immanuel truly.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 10, Day 2: Exodus 25:1-22

Summary of passage:  Moses is alone with God on the top of Mt. Sinai in a cloud.  God tells Moses offerings the people are to bring to Him that include gold, silver, bronze, yard, linen, wood, olive oil, spices, and more.  Then the Israelites are to build God a tabernacle where He will dwell among them.  God tells Moses to build an ark of gold for a holding for the Testimony (laws) and how to build it.  Here, He will meet with Moses and give all of His commands for the Israelites.

Questions:

3a)  The people’s hearts should “prompt them to give.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Pray for a giving heart.  Give even if your heart is not quit there yet because just the act can lead to the heart change.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, the passages say to offer a sacrifice that costs you something.  To offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, as a spiritual act of worship.  Give as much as you are able and beyond.  Give yourself. Basically, God wants all of us and every aspect of our lives:  money, worship, work, talents, and a living testimony to the indwelt Holy Spirit, leading a Godly-life.  I believe God wants me to fulfill the purpose He has for my life–writing something that will convert others to Him.  That is my gift beyond the others mentioned here.

4a)  As a dwelling place for Him where men could come and meet with God.

b)  From Creation, God created man as a companion to Him and as one who was meant to be with Him always. Since the Fall, sin has separated us.  So God sends His son, Jesus, Immanuel, to be with us physically.  God’s Word was given to us to be closer to us.  When we accept Jesus as your Savior, we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit, which is God within.  Then finally at Jesus’ Second Coming, Jesus will inhabit the earth with us together at last both physically and spiritually.  God will live among us and we will be together as God has meant it to be.

c)  In order to be with God, we must be cleansed of our sins for God cannot be near sin.  Hence, the atonement cover was provided as a way for His people to be near Him.  God appeared in the cloud over the atonement cover in the Most Holy place; hence, you had to be clean in order to be in the presence of God.  This allowed us to be with God as He has always meant us to.

Conclusions:  I don’t know which is harder:  one long passage of many chapters or a relatively short passage to read but with a bunch of reference passages.  Both are time consuming and challenging in their own right.  I was thinking this would be an easy day, but it wasn’t with all the look-ups.

The emphasis here is the importance of worshipping God and being near Him as we were meant to be and this passage shows how God is doing this for the Israelites in their new land.

End Notes:  Note how the Israelites 400 years ago were unskilled nomads.  After being in Egypt, they became skilled laborers, capable of crafting a beautiful tabernacle for God and an ark to hold the Testimony and for Him to dwell in.

Note the offering is not out of need nor is it us asking God for anything.  The willing heart gives–here is what God wants.  Us to freely worship and give to Him out of love and desire and because He gave everything (Jesus) to us.

The offerings listed were all of the finest and most expensive materials around–the hardest to procure and make.

The ark, or Ark of the Covenant, was described first as it was the most important offering in the tabernacle.  Scholars say it is modeled after God’s own throne.

Note the ark had wooden poles to carry it by.  The ark was too sacred to be touched by man and as Uzzah found out (2 Samuel 6:6-7) if you disobeyed this command, the penalty was death.

Note how God wants the the ark built before all the laws are even given.

The atonement cover is the lid of the ark.  Presumably, God must have made some provision for the priests to touch the lid in order to put the items inside of it.  I’m assuming we will read this later in our study.

If you picture God looking down from heaven, then the atonement cover and the passages given will make sense.  So God is looking down on the ark, which contains His laws.  The ark is then covered with sacrificial blood, atoning for and covering up man’s sins and our breaking of the law.  Hence, God could now forgive our sins and come down to be with us.

Even before the law was given, God knew we’d break it so He made appropriate provisions for us.  What a loving God!

Our mercy seat/atonement cover is now Jesus.  God is great!

Reading this passage got me confused exactly when did Moses receive the written commandments from God.  Not yet.  Exodus 24:12 has God calling Moses up to receive them but he stays for 47 days and nights so is about to receive them.  The next chapters in Exodus covers all that God told Moses (at least what Moses recorded cause I’m sure in that amount of time there would be a ton to talk about) and then he will receive the commandments to carry down off the mountain (Exodus 32:15-16).  Great website with timeline of the tablets summarized and a cool link to listen to the Ten Commandments read in Hebrew:

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Torah/Ten_Cmds/ten_cmds.html

Fun Fact:  The word “tabernacle” appears for the first time here and it is mentioned 139 times in the Old Testament.  It means ‘tent’ and just like a tent was moveable.  God does not permanently dwell in the tabernacle but comes when man does.