Exodus Chapter 25

In this part of Exodus, the laws and judgments of the Israelites is being established. The Lord has spoken to the people through the prophet Moses, and he is continuing to do so in this chapter. At this time, the children of Israel are encamped around the base of Mount Sinai and I do not think that it has been too long since they arrived there. If I am correct, then it is still not too long after they have been delivered from bondage in Egypt. The word of the Lord continues as follows:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,
4 And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,
5 And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood,
6 Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
7 Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

While Moses was speaking with the Lord, upon Mount Sinai, he was commanded to tell the Israelites to bring offerings or donations of fine things in order to build a tabernacle for the Lord. Anything that was brought willingly, was to be taken by Moses. He was told that the Lord would show him how it was to be made and with what to build it. This was like our temples are today, which the Lord commands us to build in order to have a holy place for Him to dwell. Instruction is given to the modern prophets and apostles as to where these temples should be built and how we should build them as well.

10 And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
11 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.
12 And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.
13 And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
14 And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.
15 The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.
16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.
17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
18 And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

The Lord commanded that they build an ark as well. They were told how they were to make it, including the material, size, and design of it. They were to carry it with two gold plated staffs of wood. This was to carry the testimony or covenant given to Moses. They were to make a golden mercy seat and then craft two cherubim for it, and were given specific instructions on to how they would appear, with wings outstretched and faces towards each other and the mercy seat. The footnote regarding the mercy seat reads that it was hebrew for “atonement-cover. … it was a golden slab of the same dimension as the top of the ark. A winged cherub was placed on each end.” It sounds like this mercy seat would be placed on top of the ark of the covenant. The Lord told Moses that once finished, He would be there with His people, on the mercy seat which they had made. Symbolically, the presence of the Lord would be guarded by two cherubim or something like two angels. This was the most sacred portion of the things that Moses would be commanded to create for the tabernacle.

23 Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
24 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.
25 And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about.
26 And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof.
27 Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table.
28 And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.
29 And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them.
30 And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway.

They were to build a table for the shewbread, as the Lord instructed. They were given a specific size and design. They were also to make it so that it could be carried by gold plated staffs. They would have dishes for administering in the sacred ordinances. Much of what was made, was to be of pure gold. I think that this portion of the items was much like a sacrament tables we have today, where we renew our own covenants with God on a regular basis.

31 And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.
32 And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:
33 Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.
34 And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.
35 And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick.
36 Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.
37 And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
38 And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.
39 Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.
40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.

Finally a candle stick of pure gold was to be made with 6 branches, each with a specific design given by God. Then seven lamps were to be made to light it, as well as the other tools they needed for the candle stick. All of these were to be made of pure gold. The idea of God given strict instructions as to how to build something, is not knew to me. We read of Nephi being instruction specifically on how to build a boat for the family of Lehi to cross the great waters. Likewise, the Brother of Jared was given specific instructions on how to build the barges that he and his family and friends crossed the waters in. This, to me, is a reminder, that man has a finite knowledge on how to use the things of the earth to create. The Lord will direct His people to create things according to a better design than we can imagine on our own. I feel this same guidance in my life when I do not know how to deal with a situation or to solve a problem and I am inspired to do something I would not normally do. The Lord truly knows what is best, and what we are capable of doing.

The thing I think about most with this chapter, is the importance of temples among the covenant people of God. Having a temple, requires sacrifice. At this time, it was a sacrifice of precious things, just as it was in the early times of the restoration, when the Lord commanded the early saints to give of their fine things for the building of his house. Our required sacrifice today is given in our tithes and offerings usually. We recently had a temple rededicated and some were needed to sacrifice their time, energy and means in order to make His house a clean, beautiful, and consecrated place. The Lord commands us to do this for the same reasons he did in ancient times. He wants to dwell with the righteous. He wants a holy place where His spirit and uplift us and we can feel His love. He does not want to leave us to wander the worldly wilderness on our own. This instruction to the Israelites, was a witness of his love for them. We are shown this same love today and should show our gratitude for it by using the temples as God intended.

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I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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