The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Exodus 38

Exo 38:1

Exo 38: "The two altars (Exo 37:25; 38:1) typify the two advents of the Lord, as well as the two principles of salvation. The brazen altar was outside the tabernacle; the golden altar inside at the veil of the tabernacle. The former was made of wood overladen with brass; the latter was made of wood overladen with gold. Thus both were related to human nature: the first with flesh purified; the latter with faith developed. The first altar had no crown; the second did have a crown. The first represented Christ in his humiliation as a sacrifice for sin; the second represented him in glory (at the right hand of the Father). The brazen altar was the place of suffering and typified Christ as Saviour. The golden altar was the place of glory and typified him as Mediator. Sinners come to the first to be made saints; saints made their way into the second seeking for glory" (GEM).

Exo 38:8

THE BRONZE BASIN: "After the altar of burnt offering, there is a laver or large vessel, filled with water, at which the priests have to wash (or lave) before entering into the tabernacle to perform its services. As the Lord Jesus and the saints are the antitypical Aaron and his sons, the significance bears on them; and bearing on them, bears also on all who will finally be reconciled to God... After sacrifice, washing -- purification, making clean. This is no accidental order of events. In the popular conception of things, sacrifice would be enough, for the whole burden of their preaching is that the blood of Christ is the only essential for a sinner's salvation...

"This is not an enlightened statement of the case. The blood is only an element in the process of reconciliation: after reconciliation must come reformation, if the reconciliation is to continue in force. The sinner must 'walk worthy of the vocation wherewith he is called' (Eph 4:1), and, if he do not, he will be rejected: so Paul says (Heb 6:8), and in preaching thus, he only re-echoes the plain teaching of Christ, who says, 'Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away' (Joh 15:2). 'If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love' (Joh 15:10). The unprofitable servant is to be cast out (Mat 25:30). We must walk as children of light (Eph 5:8) otherwise 'we shall die' (Rom 8:13)...

"Life after introduction to Christ is, therefore, a probation. This is the lesson of the laver. It is not enough to have God's righteousness declared in sacrifice, and endorsed in our baptism into the death of Christ: we must wash in the laver. We must conform to the exhortation, 'Wash you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings' (Isa 1:16). Literally this is done by subjecting the mind to the influence of the word of God. The word of God is always spoken of as the cleansing power (Joh 15:3; Psa 119:9; Eph 5:26), and, in actual experience, it is found to be so. Kept clean by the word, we shall be qualified for admission into the holiest, in the change to the incorruptible" (LM 151,152).

MIRRORS: By looking into "laver" of God's Word, we examine ourselves (cp Jam 1:23-25). God's word reveals us for what we are (cp 2Co 3:18; 1Co 13:12).

THE TENT OF MEETING: The earlier tabernacle (Exo 33:7).

Exo 38:25

Vv 25,26: "These verses are an inventory of the tabernacle materials. Vv 25,26 give an insight into the population of Israel at this time. There are 3,000 shekels to a talent; therefore 3,000 x 100 = 300,000, plus 1,775 = 301,775. Since each man (from twenty years and older) was valued at a half shekel, the total number of men able to bear arms was over 600,000 (301,775 x 2 = 603,550), a number very much like a later count of Num 1:46 (603,550) or Num 26:51 (601,730). Such a tally for the army would more than justify estimates of 2 million for the total population" (EBC).

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