Day 35

EXODUS 37:1 – 38:31 and MATTHEW 23:1–39

Exo 37
In verse 1-9 we see Bezaleel and Aholiab involved in the establishment of the tabernacle; specifically the items for the Holy of Holies. First we see the measurements and ingredients for the Ark. The Ark will come to symbolize the Presence of God. It consists of wood being overlaid with gold. It is a picture of Christ as both the Son of man and the Son of God. It also speaks of the future access that man will have into the presence of God. The fact that man can become holy through the working of the blood of Christ is absolutely profound. The items that will be placed in the Ark help to give keys in how man can come into that level of relationship.

First is the Law, represented by the two tables of stone. Secondly, you have the golden pot of manna. The golden pot of manna speaks of hidden truths and the price that needs to be paid to obtain them. You see this in Pro 25:2.

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.

This truth is also revealed through one of the kingdom parables of Matthew’s Gospel.

Mat 13:45  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

Mat 13:46  Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

In both cases you see one who is seeking and hungering for the things of God. Manna also speaks of grace. Finally, you have Aaron’s Rod that budded which speaks of resurrection life and authority. Within the Holy of holies you also have the Mercy Seat which will be positioned over the Ark. You have two angels bowing down over the Ark; a reference to the Mercy of God that was sought for at the time of Lucifer’s rebellion.

In verses 10-29 you have the items in the Holy Place mentioned. The table of showbread is a piece of furniture that illustrates the message of the Cross where Christ would later become the broken bread (vs 10-16).

The next items are the golden candlesticks (vs 17-24) which serves as a reference to the 7 Spirit of God anointing (Isa 11:2-3). We mentioned earlier that Bezaleel is functioning under three of the seven anointings in performing his task in the construction of the Tabernacle. (Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding) (See also Dan 1:17-20)

Finally, you have the Altar of Incense (vs 25-28) which was situated before the entrance into the Holy of Holies. It was here where the priest would make an offering on behalf of the people. The altar and candlesticks were both overlaid with gold as well. It is also here where the holy anointing oil (vs 29) was produced. The holy anointing oil was applied to every area of the Tabernacle from the Outer Court inward. The gold overlay in both the Holy of holies and Holy Place sets a clear distinction between that which is seen in the Outer Court. It is here where we can give thought to some familiar verses:

Mat 20:16  So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Mat 7:13  Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Mat 7:14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Exo 38
The Outer Court items and measurements are addressed in this chapter. It begins with the burnt altar (vs 1-7) which is different from the Altar of Incense. This altar also had wood but was covered with brass. All of the instruments that were associated with the altar were also covered with brass such as the staves, fleshhooks, firepans and shovels. Brass speaks of judgment. Brass is refined in fire and it is to the extent we allow the judgments of God to be applied in our lives which will determine whether we can move on (spiritually) to the Holy Place.

Isa 48:10  Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

The altar of burnt offering is also a place of consecration;  the altar is situated before the entering into the Holy place. Remember, God is a holy God and He can acquaint us with His holiness as we allow the fiery trials to purify us.

1Pe 4:12  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

The next item is the brass laver (vs 8) which speaks of the washing of the Word of God.

Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

The laver was for the priests as they prepared to enter into the Holy Place. The balance of chapter 38 (vs 9-31 dealt with the hangings, pillars, their measurements and the sum of the gold, silver and brass utilized for the Tabernacles’ construction. Bezaleel and Aholiab are again cited for their work (vs 22-23).


Math 23
In reading the first 12 verses one gets the sense that the Lord is speaking to our day albeit with a little different language style. It’s true! This is very much akin to the system we see in today’s world. In recent discourses the Lord has drawn a contrast between God’s law and man’s. Jesus summed up the Christian experience in two laws. Love God with your whole heart and love man in the same manner. This covers everything (Math 22:37-40).

Today man invokes law after law resulting in people coming under increasing bondage, with an accompanying loss of freedoms. The few who are in the position of legislating become empowered beyond reasonable standards making them and their position to be highly esteemed. He who makes the laws and is in a position to implement them is one with considerable influence. The prevailing atmosphere in Jesus day was a self-serving one, just as it is today. Man is concerned with his own interests so the laws enacted often serve the interests of a dominant few while the rest of the people suffer under its consequences. In the midst of this environment Jesus exhorts his followers to obey, but to not become like them. (vs 2) This is the challenge because it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain your values in a lawlessness and unfair arena. The alternative is to acquiesce and fall into line with the system, but doing so will chip away and erode your Christian testimony. The way is clearly being paved for the man of sin (antichrist) to come on the scene.

Jesus continues His teaching and does so in a way that makes clear the hypocrisy of the scribes, priests and Pharisees. He begins to call them blind guides, (vs 16) fools (vs 17) making plain what He thinks of them. This is being done publicly so the Lord knows that He is addressing the multitudes as well as the scribes, priests and Pharisees. He is driving the sword of hypocrisy deep into the “religious” knowing that others are observing and listening to His Words.

Jesus then puts emphasis on being humble, taking the low place knowing that in due time one will be exalted. He warns about looking to clean that which is within instead of making an outward show of cleanliness. In short, Jesus was demonstrating the way to true greatness which was to be the opposite of the “religious” sect. Do you think this would stir up anger and hatred against the Lord? He goes on to call them whited sepulchres (vs 27) going even further to portray these men as sons of those who murdered the prophets of old. (vs 31)

This is an important truth because we can look at Bible stories and think the same way. “I would have never consented to the death of Christ” I would have been like Caleb and Joshua where they boldly declared God’s ability in going in to possess the land. Jesus called these men blind leaders of the blind. We need to pray that our eyes are open and that we understand the reality about ourselves. Can you see the similarities today? This should provoke a soberness and sense of vigilance within us. The day is late and we need to give heed to what the Spirit is saying. I feel to devote a bit of time to vs 35.

Mat 23:35  That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Who was Zacharias? There is a bit of debate as to who this actual Zacharias was but to me it has to be the priest that is seen in 2 Chr 24:20

2Ch 24:20  And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.

There is a bit of discrepancy due to two different names being mentioned as his father. (Barachias in Math 23:35 and Jehoiadah in 2 Chr 24:20) The overall consensus among known commentators is that this Zacharias is the same. I personally feel this to be the case. Why does Jesus bring this account to our attention? Let’s backtrack a bit and see what was taking place back in the days of Zacharias. To me it is most instructive.

The father of Zacharias was a priest by the name of Jehoiada. He was a priest who together with his wife Jehosheba, preserved the life of King Joash at a time of national genocide (2 Kings 11). Why was there a national genocide? A wicked queen by the name of Athaliah put out a decree that all of the sons of the royal seed (Judah) were to be destroyed. This decree came about after hearing that her son Ahaziah was destroyed by Jehu, who had the ministry of purging out the sins of Ahab and Jezebel as well as destroying Baal and of their prophets. After Ahaziah’s death, Athaliah put herself in the now voided throne of Judah. If successful in destroying all of the royal seed of Judah it would secure her lineage. On the bigger scale this was a move against God’s sovereign will due to a future ruler out of Judah that would one day come forth. (Christ) All of the royal seed were indeed destroyed with the exception of one child. His name was Joash and it was due to the quick action of this husband and wife team of Jehoiada (a priest) and Jehosheba that he was preserved. There are a few questions we need to ask at this point.

First, how did someone like Athaliah even get into a position of being able to destroy the royal seed? Who was Athaliah in the first place? She was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, the wickedest ruling duo amongst the kings of the northern kingdom. Still, how did Athaliah even come into a place of being able to assume the throne of Judah seeing that Ahab was king of the northern kingdom of Samaria? It was due to an alliance that was struck between King Jehosophat of Judah and King Ahab of the northern kingdom. Herein is the danger of wrong alliances.

1Ki 22:4  And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramothgilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.

Jehosophat was a godly king but he made several ungodly alliances. The most tragic alliance was allowing his son Jehoram to marry Athaliah who was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. If there is ever a warning about the danger of wrong alliances this is it. This alliance allowed the enemy a significant inroad into the godly line of Judah. It allowed the enemy to tamper with the sovereign plan of God in seeking to destroy all of the royal seed. If this plan would be successful, how then could Christ, as the lion from the tribe of Judah come forth? It was the intervention of a priest that preserved the life of Joash. It was also an action that preserved God’s sovereign plan for man to go forward seeing that there was one “royal” son that could continue the lineage. It is accounts like this that helps us to see the two distinct qualities of kings and priests. If it were not for the priest (Jehoiada) here there would be no future king.

After Athaliah was destroyed, Joash soon came to the throne. He was tutored and instructed by the priest Jehoiada, and did well while under his covering (2 Kings 12:2). After Jehoiada died Joash and Judah went back to idolatrous practices. Zacharias, the son of Jehoiada prophesied against Joash and Judah but they would not hear him (2 Chr 24:20).

2Ch 24:20  And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.

In the end we find Joash, whose life was spared from genocide by Jehoiada the priest, whose reign flourished while under his instruction, killing the son of the man (Jehoiada) who spared his own life.

2Ch 24:22  Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.

Did you note those last few words of Zacharias? There is something about the blood of one who has been murdered that speaks, just like that of Abel. I know I speak like a broken record but there needs to be (in my opinion) an emerging priestly role in the church. A true priestly ministry complements and tempers the kingdom living aspect of our walk as well as the prophetic emphasis. We see how Jehoiada tempered and helped Joash to prevail as a king while he was alive and alongside the reigning king.

Do you remember the dominant ministry of a famous prophet by the name of Balaam? In the end it was a priest (Phineas) who tempered God’s anger and wrath for the immorality that was allowed to be introduced (through the prophetic ministry of Balaam) into Israel on the threshold of a mighty move of God (Num 25). As an aside it was Balaam who introduced the seeds of Baal worship that became dominant hundreds of years later as seen through Jezebel who naturally exacted great influence upon her daughter Athaliah. An un-tempered prophetic ministry (Balaam) opened the door for the propagating of gross idolatry that nearly resulted in the total destruction of the royal seed. We praise the Lord for faithful priests like Phineas and Jehoiada who point the way for the manner of priest to come forth today. One more quick thought. I find it interesting that Balaam and Jezebel are mentioned consecutively in the Lord’s letter to the 7 churches, suggesting a link between Balaam and Jezebel (Rev 2:14, 2:20). We need the prophet, king and priest to flow harmoniously together in these exciting days. There is so much to contemplate in this whole account and it will be picked up again at a later time. Jesus made clear that these things will come upon future generations and I find it interesting that he brings up this account as he comes closer to the Cross. This should foster a greater hunger for truth as we position ourselves for the challenging and exciting days before us.