Friday, December 02, 2022

2022.12.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 26:31–37

Read Exodus 26:31–37

Questions from the Scripture text: What is now being designed in Exodus 26:31? Of what is it maid? With what design? What will hold the veil up (Exodus 26:32)? Of what are they made? Overlaid with what? What about the hooks that the veil hangs upon? And the sockets of the hooks? What is to be brought in behind it (Exodus 26:33)? Between what does it divide? What is placed after the Ark is brought in (Exodus 26:34)? What two things are to be set outside. What is to be set on the south (the lefthand, Exodus 26:35)? And what on the north (the righthand)? Now what is made for separating between the Holy Place and the outer court (Exodus 26:36)? Of what is it made? What is the difference between it and the veil of Exodus 26:31? What are made for the screen to hang upon (Exodus 26:37)? Out of what? Overlaid with what? With what two features, made of what materials? What is the only difference between these poles and the ones in Exodus 26:32?

What do we learn from the doorways of God’s tent? Exodus 26:31–37 looks forward to the p.m. sermon on the coming Lord’s Day. In these seven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the doorways of the tabernacle (the veil and screen) communicated that access to the holy God had been sealed off, but that He was providing a way through, a way that would be superseded by the new and living way: the flesh of Jesus Himself.

Access to the holy God sealed off. There are two doorways described here, which our version translates as a “veil” and a “screen.” The veil separates the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place. The screen separates the Holy Place from the outer court of God’s tent. 

In some ways the two are similar. They are both made with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and of fine woven linen. But in other ways, they are different in ways that remind us of the increasing degree of holiness and separation as one moves toward the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Testimony. 

The veil is embroidered with cherubim (Exodus 26:31) like the ceiling of the Holy Place (Exodus 26:1). Passing through it is given the appearance of passing into Heaven. Its very name comes from a word whose root means “to seal off.” This reminds us of the cherubim who were placed to keep the way to the tree of life (cf. Genesis 3:24). Indeed, only the High Priest would ever pass through, and then only on the Day of Atonement, to pour blood upon the mercy seat. Our passage once again draws attention to the ark (Exodus 26:33) and its mercy seat (Exodus 26:34).

The screen does not have these cherubim. Its sockets are made of bronze (Exodus 26:37) instead of silver (Exodus 26:32). It is made by a weaver (Exodus 26:36) instead of the master craftsman implied by what our version calls “artistic design” (Exodus 26:31). Although still guarding holiness, many priests will frequently pass through it.

But not entirely and not forever. It was a glorious mercy that by the blood of the atonement, which was for all the people, a single representative from among them could go through and pour out that atoning blood in behalf of many. Still, it must have been shocking, when the Lord Jesus died, that the veil was torn in two from top to bottom, exposing the Holy of Holies.

But this visible development was just the beginning of something much greater. The Lord Jesus proceeded to pass through the heavens (cf. Hebrews 4:14), of which this veil was a rudimentary picture. There, He has become an anchor for our souls (cf. Hebrews 6:19), not only attaching us to the Presence behind the veil, but acting as our Forerunner (cf. Hebrews 6:20) Who guarantees that we ourselves will enter. 

Indeed, in union with Jesus, we already have boldness to enter the Holy of Holies by His own blood (cf. Hebrews 10:19), which was shed once for all and with which He Himself entered (cf. Hebrews 9:11–12). He is our new and living way through the true veil (cf. Hebrews 10:20). This enables us to draw near in full assurance of faith, which assurance our High Priest ministers to us by His sign of Baptism (cf. Hebrews 10:21–22). He has united us to Himself, and through Him we have happy access to the holy God! The previous “sealing off” has actually served to heighten, by contrast, the liberty and boldness that we now have in Jesus!

What is your experience of God like in private worship, and especially in public worship? How does this passage help stir you up to liberty and boldness in Jesus? How does it help restrict this liberty and boldness only to when you come through Jesus? How is public worship our best access?

Sample prayer: Lord, thank You for keeping the way to the tree of life for us. And thank You that Jesus Himself has now entered with His blood into the Holy of Holies. Increase our faith, we pray, so that we may come freely and boldly through Him, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly, I Am with You” or TPH275 “Arise, My Soul, Arise”

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