The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Exodus 37

Exo 37:1

"[The] first and most characteristic feature [of the ark] is its capacity as a container. It was constructed to receive the tables of the law, inscribed by the finger of God: and afterwards were placed in it Aaron's rod that budded, and a golden pot containing a sample of the manna with which God fed Israel in the wilderness for forty years. On the basis of which things concealed in the ark, rested the blood-sprinkled cover lid or mercy-seat, overshadowed by the cherubic figures bearing the glory of God.

"Taking these items separately, we shall see the most perfect correspondence between shadow and substance. The Christ-body [meaning 'all of those believers joined together in Christ'] in the largest sense is a container and not a mere utensil of beauty. It is not a mere society of beautiful men and women ignorant of God and interested only in themselves. It is a society with internal contents to make it precious to God and advantageous to man.

"First of all, the law of God, as represented by the tables of stone, is enshrined in every heart. It is this that distinguishes them from the ordinary run of human beings. The ordinary run of human beings is fitly described in the words of Paul: 'The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness unto him' (1Co 2:14). Also, 'The carnal mind is enmity against God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be' (Rom 8:7). What a dreadful picture. It is ugly and true. A man that is not subject to the law of God is an abortion even now: how much more if such a one were immortal. Such a one cannot become immortal. The ark with its tables of stone inside is a prophecy that excludes it. It is obedience to divine law that makes a man beautiful to man and well-pleasing to God, and fit for divine use in the age to come. The purpose is to give the earth into the hands of an order of men who have learnt obedience as the first law. Paul testifies that even Christ 'learnt obedience by the things which he suffered' (Heb 5:8), and Peter describes the accepted members of his body as 'obedient children, not fashioning themselves according to the former lusts in their ignorance' (1Pe 1:14). The Psalms are full of the enunciation of this principle: indeed we may say it shines everywhere in the Scriptures: 'The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. The law of his God is in his heart: none of his steps shall slide' (Psa 37:30). Christ affirmed of himself that it was his meat and his drink to do the will of Him that sent him" (LM 110,111).

Exo 37:29

THE SACRED ANOINTING OIL: This oil was not for use in the tabernacle, but for anointing the priests in order to sanctify them. It was made of 2 parts myrrh, 2 parts cassia and 1 part sweet calamus (Exo 30:23,24), and these were mixed "according to the work of the apothecary" (AV), or "perfumer". The smell created symbolically a purity for the priests (Exo 30:25-38). Consider also Psa 23:5; 92:10; Isa 61:1-3; 2Co 1:21,22; 1Jo 2:27.

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