Why such detailed instructions? (Exodus 35:4–37:29)
Exodus 36:1 - 38:31
ESV - 1 "Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the Lord has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded." 2 And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.
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The writer of Hebrews gives us the answer. The tabernacle of Moses is an exact copy of the true tabernacle in heaven. Hebrews 8:1-6 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises. Hebrews 9:11-15 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance —now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Hebrews 9:23-28 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. All of the tabernacle, furnishings, duties and sacrifices prescribed by God through Moses, foreshadowed what Jesus would accomplish “perfectly” through his once-for-all-time sacrifice in the true tabernacle in heaven. We get a glimpse into heaven when we see the picture God has given through the tabernacle and sacrificial system prescribed by Moses. We get a glimpse into heaven when we see what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
The reason for all the detailed instruction is because the earthly tabernacle was a copy of the original sanctuary in heaven. Everything in the sanctuary the dwelling, furniture, and services are symbols of something Jesus did in saving us. The entire plan of salvation could be fully understood by the symbolism of the sanctuary. The animals sacrificing was necessary to help people understand that without the shedding of Jesus’ blood, their sins could never be forgiven. The wage for sin is eternal death (Rom 6:23). And all of us have sinned. When Adam and Eve sinned, they would have died at once except for Jesus, who stepped forward and offered to give His perfect life as a sacrifice to pay the death penalty for all people (John 3:16; Rev 13:8). It was required the sinner to bring an animal sacrifice (Gen 4:3-7). The sinner was to kill the animal with his own hand (Lev 1:4, 5). It was bloody and shocking – showing sin’s awful consequences and the need of a Savior and Substitute. The sacrificial system taught, through the symbol of the slain animal, that God would give His own Son to die for their sins (1 Cor 15:3). Jesus would become the Savior and Substitute (Heb 9:28; John 1:29). In the Old Testament, people looked forward to the cross for salvation. We look back to the cross for salvation. There is no other source of salvation (Acts 4:12). When a sacrifice was offered for the sins of the entire congregation, the blood was taken by the priest, who represented Jesus (Hebrews 3:1), into the sanctuary and sprinkled before the veil that separated the two rooms. The presence of God dwelt on the other side of the veil. Thus, the sins of the people were removed and symbolically transferred to the sanctuary. This ministry of the blood by the priest foreshadowed Jesus’ present ministry for us in heaven. After Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for sin, He arose and went to heaven as our priest to minister His blood in the heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 9:11, 12). The blood ministered by the earthly priest represents Jesus applying His blood to our record of sins in the sanctuary above, showing that they are forgiven when we confess them in His name (1 John 1:9). Once each year, on the day of atonement, a solemn day of judgment took place (Lev 23:27). All were to confess every sin. Those who refused were cut off forever from the camp of Israel (Lev 23:29). Two goats were selected: One, the Lord's goat the other, the scapegoat, representing Satan (Lev 16:8). The Lord's goat was slain and offered for the sins of the people (Lev 16:9). But on this day the blood was taken into the most holy place and sprinkled upon and before the mercy seat (Lev 16:14). Only on this special judgment day did the high priest enter the most holy place to meet God at the mercy seat. The sprinkled blood (representing Jesus' sacrifice) was accepted by God, and the confessed sins of the people were transferred from the sanctuary to the high priest. He then transferred these confessed sins to the scapegoat, which was led into the wilderness (Lev 16:16, 20-22). This way the sanctuary was cleansed of the sins of the people, which had been transferred there by the blood sprinkled before the veil and had been accumulating for a year (Heb 9:23).
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