Sailhamer, John H. The Pentateuch As Narrative. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.
Chapter 2, “Exodus” pp. 241-322.
Part 7 “The Tabernacle (25:1-31:18)” pp. 298-310.
Sailhamer now discusses the tabernacle, its furnishings, and the priestly anointing, garments, and practices based on Exodus 25-31. He sees similarity between the creation account and the tabernacle. Each account is presented in seven acts, each beginning with God’s word. The culmination of each is the Sabbath. Creation and worship are both followed by disobedience. The plan is of divine origin. “The NT writers explain many of the Tabernacle’s parts as ‘shadows’ of the reality revealed in Christ (e.g., Heb. 9:5)” (Sailhamer 1992, 300). Sailhamer walks through the various parts, first describing its use as we know it (often from Jewish extrabiblical sources) and then exploring the spiritual significance.
The materials used were by and large associated with royalty. Most are at least alluded to in the opening chapters of Genesis (Sailhamer 1992, 300-301). The ark was seen as the place of meeting with God. Christians often view it as a type of Christ (Sailhamer 1992, 301). The table which holds the bread of the Presence is also seen as a type of Christ (Sailhamer 1992, 302), as is the lampstand. The tabernacle itself is intricate, made in many layers, all joined. This is often seen as an indicator of the two natures of Christ (Sailhamer 1992, 303). The altar of burnt offering is seen as a type of Christ, the place we go for forgiveness (Sailhamer 1992, 304). The courtyard and oil pointed to clear access to God.
In Exodus 28 the priestly garments are described in detail. The priests bore the names of the tribes and represented the tribes before God. The priests are consecrated in chapter 29. They are dressed, there are sacrifices for them, they have a holy meal, and the consecration is repeated (Sailhamer 1992, 307). There is special incense, a tax for the expenses, and there are places for washing and anointing. In chapter 31 we meet workers gifted by God to prepare the equipment (Sailhamer 1992, 309). The culmination of all this is the sabbath. We are finally brought to the realization that God has been speaking this to Moses on the mountain as we reach the end of chapter 31.